On Thursday, November 11 Coastal Breeze News was informed that not only had City Councilman Chuck Kiester requested the resignation of Carol Glassman, his May 2009 appointee to the Code Compliance Board, but that this may be “part of a larger issue” at city hall.
The e-mail Glassman received from Kiester said in part, “We have been acquainted for several years now (at least since before my first election to city council in 2006) and I have always appreciated your support. However, given the city council’s agreement with our new city manager to establish an approach to code violations with a less-intimidating structured approach to issues which come before the Board, I believe it is now time to change the make-up of the Board with those who are in philosophical agreement with the new approach to which I whole-heartedly agree. The favorable results of this approach are there for all to see.
As a result, I am requesting your letter of resignation ASAP so I can appoint someone who is more in agreement with this new approach.
Thank you for all the hours and work associated with the Codes Committee.”
When contacted, Glassman said she was totally blindsided and shocked by this request and the way in which she received it. When asked if she had been given any indication that she was going to be asked to resign, she said she had not. She said the only communications she had with Kiester in the past were complimentary, telling her she was doing a good job. When asked about the “new approach” mentioned in the e-mail, she said she had not heard anything about it nor had anyone asked her to change her own personal philosophy.
“I have made it clear publicly on more than one occasion,” Glassman stated, “that my personal philosophy has always been one of compliance over punishment and heavy fines. On several occasions city staff has referred to me as ‘the voice of reason’ in some of these matters. Glassman stated that the board has considered each case brought before it carefully and especially in this economy, has been as considerate and lenient as it could possibly be. Members respect each other’s opinions and try to deal as wisely and judiciously as possible.
“I have taken this position very seriously and feel I have served this board with integrity and under very stressful conditions, especially in the past year,” Glassman stated. “My husband of 31 years was very ill, hospitalized, and subsequently passed away in June. He knew how conscientious I tried to be and encouraged me to attend meetings as often as possible, even though I was reluctant to leave him even for short periods of time.
“I feel like a dedicated two-year employee of a company, who goes to pick up her paycheck at the end of the week, and is greeted by a pink slip: your services are no longer needed. No honest explanation.”
When asked if she felt her request for dismissal was part of a larger issue, Glassman said if it were, she had no idea what that issue could be. In fact, she went on to say, she was “mystified” at the amount of attention this is getting.
“I am no one special,” she said, “I don’t know why sources would be notifying your newsroom of my e-mail — must be a slow news day, unless there is something of which I am unaware.”
It is public knowledge that the city is facing an appeal filed by the Conservancy of Southwest Florida which alleges that codes were violated at Key Marco by City Manager James Riviere, who allowed Key Marco to ‘landscape’ certain areas there without a permit.
Council Chairman Frank Recker has raised the possibility that under state statutes the city could retain a magistrate to rule on code infractions in place of the appointed volunteer code enforcement board.
Glassman denied personal factual knowledge of these issues and said she didn’t know how other board members felt about them, as she does not socialize with them and under the Sunshine Laws could not discuss issues with them.
She declined to say if, when, or how she intends to reply to Kiester.