A late addition to the Marathon City Council’s agenda appeared online on Monday, Oct. 12 — the “separation agreement and general release between Charles Lindsey and the City of Marathon.”
Lindsey, the city manager, was hired in late 2015, and started the job in January of 2016. He replaced interim city manager Mike Puto. Before coming on as Marathon’s top administrator, Lindsey served 20-plus years in the U.S. Coast Guard, ending as a command master chief for the U.S. Coast Guard in the Pacific Northwest. Lindsey also served as operations chief from 2010 to 2013 at Coast Guard Station Marathon.
Lindsey did not return calls from the Keys Weekly for comment. The situation will be discussed on Tuesday, Oct. 13 at the regularly scheduled meeting at Marathon City Hall. The meeting begins at 5 p.m.
Mayor Steve Cook said Lindsey is leaving for health reasons. Councilman John Bartus said it’s his understanding that Lindsey will stay on for another 30 days, and another 30 after that if necessary. Most likely, the council will name an interim manager immediately.
“We have a great choice for interim city manager, if it is the council’s will, in attorney Steve Williams,” Cook said. Williams joined the City of Marathon last month as city attorney.
The council said Lindsey had many successes in Marathon, most notably leading the city through Hurricane Irma and storm recovery.
“He’s brought us a long way since Hurricane Irma,” said Marathon City Councilman Luis Gonzalez.
Cook reiterated the hurricane comments, adding, “and with the help of our Finance Director Jennifer Johnson they balanced the budget almost every year. Chuck is a ‘soldier’s sergeant,’ if you will. He’s known for taking care of his staff. The next manager, he or she, will have big shoes to fill.”
Bartus said he is wishing Lindsey well in his future endeavors. “Chuck Lindsey was the right city manager at the right time for Marathon. His persistence in fighting for the people of Marathon is something I will want in every future city manager that shows up on the job. He will be missed,” Bartus said.
Councilman Dan Zieg also remarked on Lindsey’s handling of the hurricane, among other achievements. “What’s remarkable as well is that he has built such a wonderful relationship with other municipalities and at the county and state level,” Zieg said. “I can’t say enough good about Mr. Chuck Lindsey.”
The top level of almost every municipality in the Keys has undergone a shakeup in the past year. Key West replaced former City Manager Jim Scholl with Greg Veliz in May of 2019. In late August 2020, former Islamorada Manager Seth Lawless stepped down, also for health reasons, and was replaced with acting manager Maria Bassett. And at the beginning of October, Key Colony Beach manager Chris Moonis’ contract was not renewed.
“Everything changes,” said Cook. “People have a hard time with change, but it’s necessary to move forward.”
Insiders say it will be necessary to replace Lindsey with a strong candidate. In the next two years, four of the five city councilmen will term out, excluding Councilman Luis Gonzalez.