By Steve “Stef” Stefanides
On September 4 the Marco City Council reduced its list of potential picks for an interim city manager to three possible candidates. They initially had five individuals to pick from but William Vance chose to drop out of the running and pursue other opportunities, after he was chosen as one of the five to be vetted further.
City Council eliminated former Lee County Commissioner and former Fort Myers Beach City Manager Don Stillwell from their four choices on September 4, after concerns arising from the two last positions he held and his voluntary resignations from both.
They would then go onto rearrange the schedule for interviews of the final three candidates after they once again realized the schedule for the completion of the deep background checks would not be in place to meet the earlier schedule they chose. They would then agree to interview the final three.
This would be the second time they would rearrange their dates after realizing appropriate time was not allocated for all the background checks.
That change would leave the following in contention for the temporary position.
David Harden, the former longtime manager of Delray Beach for 23 years. He has also served for one year as the Interim Manager in Port Orange, Florida.
James D. Hock who most recently served as the city manager for Joliet, Illinois from 2013-17. Joliet has a population of 149,000 residents, with a budget of $240 million. He also served for 14 years as both the Assistant and City manager of Oak Park, Michigan. He would also serve in several other Michigan and Illinois communities in various positions.
Maria Alberro Menendez recently served as the Assistant Village Manager of Pinecrest, Florida from 2012 to 2017. She had served in various capacities from 1981 to 2012 in the City of Coral Gables, Florida, ending her career there as the Assistant City Manager.
The problem that arose this week was they never checked with all three of those candidates as to their availability. Therefore James D. Hock would advise the city clerk’s office that he would withdraw his name from consideration due to conflicting travel plans.
The city is now down to only two candidates for consideration from the original five.
Both David Harden and Maria Alberro Menendez are Florida residents and are still scheduled for interviews on September 25 to 27.