It is my understanding that the process of interviewing candidates for Marco Island City Manager has hit a bit of a snag. Two candidates, Messrs. Gruber and Hamaday were remaining for interviews on 17 July, to be followed for the public’s “Meet & Greet” on 18 July. Finally, on the following day, 19 July, City Council was to make the final selection between the two. Unfortunately, Mr. Hamaday withdrew his candidacy, leaving Mr. Gruber alone to be “interviewed” on Monday, “evaluated” by the public on Tuesday and undergo “selection” on Wednesday. Now, if on Wednesday, five of our seven elected councilors decide to vote for him, he becomes our City Manager. Being hired by default instead of by competitive selection should be unacceptable to anyone, including the candidate. The appearance of a “fix” is just as damaging to everyone involved as would be hard evidence of one.
In the interest of fairness to the Marco Island community, City Council would be well advised to delay the above process and request one or more additional candidates be provided by the consultant prior to continuing the selection process. Happily, the consultant has a list of more than seven additional qualified, interested candidates. Marco Island deserves a selected City Manager, not one hired by default. We’ve been there…done that.