Thursday, September 20, 2018

Letter to the Editor: AM I MISSING SOMETHING???


As most of Marco Islanders must know, our recently hired city manager, Dr. Lee Niblock, has allegations placed against him for committing battery. At the February 20th city council meeting Dr. Niblock acknowledged the allegations against him and requested that he be allowed to take an indefinite leave of absence until the Collier County Sheriff’s Office concludes its investigation. I have no problem with that. Then the topic came up if the leave of absence should be with or without pay. To me it was a no brainer. Dr. Niblock initiated the request for an indefinite leave of absence, not the city council. Of course it should be without pay. When the city council asked advice from our city lawyer, our city lawyer stated that granting Dr. Niblock leave without pay would be the same as terminating him. This is where I get confused. If any other city employee requested an indefinite leave of absence would that employee be entitled to full pay while not working or be considered terminated if they were not paid? I think not. And when the amount of pay given to Dr. Niblock was discussed, it was put in the hands of our city lawyer and Dr. Niblock’s lawyer to negotiate. Our lawyer already wanted to give Dr. Niblock full pay. Some negotiations! Both lawyers against the Marco Island taxpayers. What a surprise outcome!

I would like a response from any member of the city council explaining to me and all of the taxpayers on Marco why it appears that Dr. Niblock is given special treatment. Is there a clause in his contract allowing him to take indefinite leaves of absence with pay? If not, where is our city lawyer getting his facts that giving Dr. Niblock leave without pay is the same thing as terminating him? And why is paying a city employee not to work a prudent way of spending our tax money?

AM I MISSING SOMETHING???

Thom Fisher
Marco  Island

2 responses to “Letter to the Editor: AM I MISSING SOMETHING???”

  1. Hector Fernandez says:

    I found it curious that the Council moved to technically keep the City Manager as a City Employee. Equally odd that others had moved immediately, at first, to terminate him without cause?

    I’m left to wonder… Who knew about “What”? And “When” did they know about it?

    So I ask who was so adamant we hire a “talent search consultant”? Who then got into a fight with said firm and insulted them causing them to quit? Who then insisted that the process be started again? Who then went against the top recommendation made by said consultant firm (we paid more money to, to return after they were insulted)? Who pushed the current City Manager as the preferred candidate? Who received a very personal sounding email from said City Manager regarding employee terminations which begs the question if there was a violation of State Statute? Who has then distanced themselves from this whole mess alleging total ignorance as to why, who, when and where?

    Who indeed???

    Perhaps the State of Florida Commission on Ethics should be notified? If they haven’t been already…

  2. Arleen says:

    There is now a dark cloud over this man. He should be terminated and the City should stop having a search firm look for a good replacement. There has to be someone who sends in a resume that can be interviewed and qualified to do this job. I cannot understand why there is always so much controversy in this small City. However, this will never be a situation where the reputation of this man is not in question. We don’t need to drag this out. Terminate him. However, if he asked to be put on leave, he should forfeit his salary. It does not take a genius to realize this. Common sense tells us that this is how this should be handled….but I do think that ties should be severed completely and a replacement sought.

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