It was the first in-person meeting of the Marathon City Council at City Hall since the COVID-19 outbreak in the Florida Keys, and the second-to-last meeting for City Manager Chuck Lindsey. On Oct. 13, he tendered his resignation.
The first mention of Lindsey’s departure as the top city administrator appeared as a late addition to the online agenda one day before the meeting on Oct. 12, also a holiday for city staff. It was a consent item on the agenda, meaning the council could pass the resolution without discussion at the Oct. 13 meeting.
Councilman Mark Senmartin, however, flagged the item to delve into the details of Lindsey’s separation agreement: 20 weeks of pay, plus pay for accrued vacation and sick days. The council and Lindsey agreed on language to clarify when it would happen: 30 days on the job to train his replacement and, if the council deems it necessary, another 30 days.
“I have been honored to serve our great community and grateful for the love and support of friends and family,” Lindsey told the Keys Weekly. “I am very proud of the council’s and the staff’s outstanding efforts over the last five years. Even in the face of great adversity, so much has been accomplished.”
Earlier in the week, the Keys Weekly reported on the council’s reaction to the news. Four had very complimentary things to say about Lindsey and his performance. At the Tuesday meeting, Senmartin also chimed in.
“We have, as a city, been very fortunate to have Mr. Lindsey here at the helm through some of the hardest times this city has seen. And he has bravely and selflessly guided us through,” Senmartin said.
Lindsey’s severance pay will amount to about $112,000, depending on any sick or vacation time Lindsey uses before his departure on Nov. 12, or Dec. 10, depending on the city’s need. The severance is structured identically to that of the former City Attorney David Migut who left the city in January. At the meeting, the council thanked Lindsey for his service again, this time in person.
There was no discussion at the meeting about appointing an interim city manager. If the council doesn’t call a special meeting, the next time for discussion will be on Nov. 10, two days before Lindsey’s first departure date.
In other news:
- The City of Marathon amended its agreement with M.T. Causley, increasing it by $475,300 to not exceed $1.1 million. M.T. Causley provides contract employees — three part-time building inspectors and one full-time inspector — to augment the City of Marathon’s building department personnel. Marathon’s finance director, Jennifer Johnson, described it as a line of credit, drawn upon when needed. The city recently hired Noe Martinez, a former M.T. Causley employee, to become the in-house, certified building official. With the city, Martinez earns $205,920 which is not included in the M.T. Causley contract amount. Martinez works a 40-hour week in four days, returning to his home on the mainland for the other three days.
- The city agreed to contribute $20,000 in legal fees to Monroe County and the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority, which have filed a lawsuit to force Florida Power and Light to replace its reportedly faulty cooling canals with a more standard arrangement at the Turkey Point nuclear facility, especially before the utility is granted a permit to build another reactor at the aging facility. Turkey Point is located at the head of the Keys. The City of Key West and Village of Islamorada have contributed similar amounts to the legal fund.
- Utility Director Dan Saus said staff has identified about two dozen properties that failed to pay the $5,000 assessment when the city installed the sewer system. Home owners paid the assessment in addition to financing their own lateral lines to connect the property to the city infrastructure. “We are sending out letters, so expect some phone calls,” Saus told the council.
- The council also discussed a way to enforce responsible garbage can management. The city cannot make rules that only target vacation rentals and any ordinance must be citywide and also apply to residents. Staff was instructed to bring back suggestions.
- The council discussed light pollution and nuisance lighting, where lights shine into neighbor’s homes. Again, staff was instructed to bring back suggestions.
- The council heard the second reading of the conditional use permit and the development agreement for Seasons Inc., the new owners of a development for 26 two- and three-bedroom transient units and 18-one bedroom hotel-style rooms. The development is on the waterfront of the gulfside Crystal Cove development near 50th Street of more than 100 affordable apartments.