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???