The commissioners for the City of Sarasota should make one action front-and-center at their meeting on Monday, July 16: Appoint Marlon Brown as the next city manager (assuming he still would take the job).
Terry Lewis was a great choice as the interim manager back in January, and the city was fortunate that he was available and willing. But Brown would have been an even better choice, because eventually he could have moved into the job permanently … without missing a beat.
Oh, there are those who murmur darkly that Brown is implicated in the email “scandal” that brought down former City Manager Bob Bartolotta. But it appears — after wasting more than $100,000 of taxpayers’ money — that the “investigation” by Sylint was nothing more than an ignobly motivated and poorly executed witch hunt. There is no proof of wrongdoing. There is only a growing hole in the city’s bank account.
After appointing Brown as city manager, the City Commission could undertake another important task under the heading of “DO YOUR JOB!” — require Pamela Nadalini, the city clerk and auditor, to appear before them in private and inform them, fully and frankly, why she is unable to be bonded. She also should authorize them to receive any underwriting reports from the bonding companies who refused her bond, so they might ascertain the veracity of her explanation. If she refuses to do so, she should resign or be fired.
And if she complies, the city commissioners then can make an informed decision about whether she should continue in that position — a decision they should have been allowed to make almost two years ago. They were thwarted in that by the subversive machinations of City Attorney Robert Fournier and others (a real scandal, by the way, not an ersatz one such as the one that has unfairly stained the reputation of Marlon Brown).
Finally, every city commissioner — not some or most, but every one of them — should give serious thought to stepping down at the end of their respective terms. Their bumbling approach to city governance is proof — along with Florida Gov. Rick Scott — that voters do not always make wise decisions.