At the end of January, Nancy Richie and Liz Carr walked through the doors of Marco Island City Hall for the last time. According to City Manager Roger Hernstadt, Richie, who worked as the city’s environmental specialist and liaison with the Beach Advisory Committee, resigned to work in the private sector as a consultant, and Carr, one of the city’s three code enforcement officers, retired.
“Their departures will be a loss of institutional knowledge to the city,” says Hernstadt.
The recruitment process for a new environmental specialist — which was initially a part-time position — already is underway. The notice has been posted on the city web site, and Hernstadt is soliciting resumes and applications. He expects to hire a replacement as soon as a quality candidate is identified. In the interim and until a replacement is hired,the city has engaged the services of an environmental consultant. Hernstadt discussed this process with City Council during its regular Monday, Feb. 2 meeting.
Still, Richie’s departure creates an additional gap for the city and its Code Enforcement Department. While Carr worked as a code enforcement officer, Richie also had been working with Hernstadt and Marco Island Police Chief Al Schettino on the department’s overhaul. Hernstadt explains that Richie initially indicated she did not want to continue to work on committees or code compliance matters.
“(Nancy) is professionally well respected and did a good job as liaison to the Beach Advisory Committee,” he adds. “She admirably tied things over in code while (Chief Schettino) and I addressed police officer turnover and top heavy and unbalanced supervisor to officer staffing ratios.”
In the end, Hernstadt has turned these losses into an opportunity tore-evaluate the code department’s operational effectiveness, a particularly important move as the city prepares to begin using its Magistrates to handle code enforcement issues.
Moreover, after reviewing the cost of the city’s code compliance operation, Hernstadt and Schettino agreed that it will be more efficient and cost effective to use MIPD Community Service Officers to patrol neighborhoods and respond to code issues. According to Schettino, it will save the city $100,000 annually.
“We can be more cost effective, cover more days and hours, and avoid two employees and vehicles driving down the same street for two different purposes thereby increasing our efficiency,” says Hernstadt. “We are confident that as we will move forward under the new Special Magistrate system and continue our plan to roll out the multi-functional Community Service Officers our program will generate enhanced operations for our tax dollars devoted to code function.”