It was a little bit like coming home for Michael McNees when he stepped through the doors at city hall on Monday, July 1 as the new full-time city manager for Marco Island. His long experience working for Collier County beginning in 1984 and ending 17 years later in 2001 provided him with a keen insight to Marco Island and the surrounding area.
“This is a very special area of Florida and I am so pleased to have been given this opportunity,” said McNees on the day he began settling into his office and reviewing the challenges that he was looking forward to taking on.
McNees will be assisted in settling into his role as the chief executive of the community for the next 30 days by David Harden, who has filled the role as Interim City Manager since early January of this year. “David is a consummate professional who has served the community with distinction and I am proud to have him here as I settle in,” said McNees.
His experience in all aspects of providing governmental services within Florida was one of his major strengths when discussing why they chose him. He had served in Collier County and rose to the position of Deputy County Manager, Sarasota as its City Manager and most recently in Melbourne, Florida as its City Manager.
Since McNees was hired in May, he has been seen sitting in on various meetings from budgeting to strategic planning in an effort to get a feel for the challenges that lay ahead for himself, his staff and the community.
McNees collaborated with Harden and a selection committee from the Florida Police Chiefs Association as they interviewed five finalists to fill the position to head the Marco Island Police Department upon the departure of Police Chief Al Schettino.
That search resulted in the hiring of law enforcement veteran Tracy Frazzano, who serves as the Deputy Chief of Police for the Montclair, New Jersey Police Department.
After the end of that process David Harden revealed that both he and McNees, as well as the panel of interviewees, had all selected Frazzano as their choice independent of each other.
In filling vacant positions, it is important to be mindful of the important issues that could, if not better understood, do more to frame our future and the vitality of the island than the many other trivial ones. Red tide, algae blooms and out of control readings of phosphates and nitrates are all issues which need addressing by a cooperative group of political bodies that put away their differences and borderlines. McNees’ experience on the county, as well as the municipal level will certainly provide a useful skill set in that regard.
That same experience level will also serve him well as the city looks to deal with growth issues, both on the island and across the bridge as they continue to work through a strategic plan for the community for the next ten to twenty years.