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Marco Island's hiring and firing

I’m not a supporter nor a critic of Chief Schettino, knowing little of his termination. My concern is with the professional services of departing interim City Manager David Harden. 

I understand that Harden was hired basically to:

  • Stabilize our community and its administration;
  • Improve the morale of city employees;
  • Help search for a permanent city manager.

Mr. Harden’s professional expertise qualified him unconditionally. Let’s examine the results:

Within weeks of taking his temporary office:

  • Mr. Harden initiated the termination of Chief Schettino, causing significant community dissension.
  • City employees' morale plummeted while they wondered who might be next.
  • The search for a city manager was burdened by adding the search for a new chief.

Obviously, in failing to reach the three goals and in inciting community and administration conflict, Harden’s professional performance was unbelievably poor. 

Regarding the termination of Chief Schettino, Harden certainly enjoyed the legal loophole authority to terminate any city employee. In my opinion, however, as an incoming temporary manager, Harden lacked the moral and ethical principle to so quickly fire anyone. 

Given Marco’s deplorable history regarding city managers, a conscientious City Council would consider amending city procedures to provide a job description of an acting or an interim city manager. Such a job description could prohibit any temporary city manager from firing anyone during the first six months or so.  

Goodbye, Mr. Harden. Please don’t offer your “help” to other already troubled communities.

Russ Colombo, Marco Island

Golden Gate golf course

It's a well-known fact and one that has been emphasized by the Blue Zones Project that physical activity and socializing benefit aging populations. And golf is a prime example of benefits to both the physical and the social aspects. What better way to start a day than to be outdoors using your body by walking, swinging a golf club and sharing (maybe even commiserating) with others?  

There are many beautiful golf courses in Naples, but the cost can be prohibitive.  Fortunately, there is a public golf course that's affordable and perfect for golfers of all abilities. This course, the Golden Gate Country Club, surrounds the condo community Fairways at Par One, where my husband and I own a condo. In addition to being senior-friendly, this course has been a training ground for younger golfers. Our community has hosted an annual golf tournament benefiting the St. John Neumann High School girls golf team.  A generous scholarship is awarded each year to an outstanding student golfer.  

There's concern for the future of public golf courses in general, but this golf course in particular is in jeopardy. My hope is that the Collier County commissioners will do everything in their power to keep the Golden Gate Country Club open to the public. For the health and welfare of our community, please let's do this.

Cathy Allen, Naples 

Too little help in Congress

Eight years of an obstructionist Republican-led Congress. Now most likely eight years of an obstructionist Democrat-led House.

The difference is the Republicans achieved little more than: Take the money and fat pension and run.

This Congress seems determined to self-destruct before being voted out of office with a fat pension.

If our government is broken, as many students of government feel it is, then it's time we concern ourselves with fixing it by starting at the bottom and working our way up. We need to elect people who will truly represent us. Send people to Washington who will work for our money. Oversight power is being abused for political purposes. It has nothing to do with solving the problems that confront our nation. It's time to legislate, not investigate. We need better representatives in Congress.

Buck Evans, East Naples

Felons and voting

This is in response to a writer's judgmental and condescending letter in which he made broad presumptions on how he thinks ex-felons, whom he has never met, will vote. It sounds like he is afraid they won’t vote the way he would want them to.

Does the letter writer know any ex-felons? I do. I have a brother who spent five years in a federal institution due to attempting to transport marijuana across state lines to sell.  He is not a hardened criminal and paid his debt to society. He has been working hard in a legitimate job ever since and is probably a more upstanding citizen then a lot of voters. He has a very high IQ, actually Mensa level, and if he was allowed to vote, he would be more knowledgeable about who he is voting for than many voters. 

I am proud to be one of those who love and support anyone who is trying to better themselves and make up for past mistakes.

Eileen Santoro, Naples

More: Letters to the Editor, May 17

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