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Voters on Marco Island could decide if the City needs a mayor

Marco Island
Posted at 3:09 PM, Sep 18, 2023

MARCO ISLAND, Fla. — The City of Marco Island could get a mayor, if the voters want one.

On Monday night, the City Council will discuss the proposal. First, councilors must vote on whether or not to change the City Chapter in order to have a mayor. If so, voters would see it on the ballot.

Many people Fox 4 spoke with said they were not aware Marco Island did not have a mayor.

"Yeah, I think it's very unusual that we don't have a mayor," one resident said. "I thought we had a mayor."

The model would mimic what Naples currently has, seven council members with one mayor and one vice-mayor.

The mayor would be the head of city government and the liaison between the Council and the City Manager.

"I think the accountability to the mayor in the absence of other city council managers streamlines things when decisions have to be made quickly," said Greg Folley, Chair of Marco Island City Council.

Some residents echo Folley, saying they want someone ultimately responsible for big decisions.

"When you have a mayor, it kind of holds one person where he says yeah, I pushed for it," one resident said. "You have someone that speaks for ya."

However, the mayor would have the same voting power as other councilors but would streamline decisions, as Folley said.

The change isn't overnight, because it will ultimately come down to voters.

If the council approves the Chapter change in the next few weeks, voters will see it on the March 19, 2024 ballot. They will decide if they want a mayor.

If it passes, voters will then go to another ballot on November 5, 2024. That ballot will list the mayoral candidates.

"If they put it on the ballot, I’ll vote for us to get a mayor," one resident said.

Once a mayor is selected, Folley said the councilors will appoint a vice-mayor.

Folley believes that this position could give the city extra clout.

"When you show up at an external event, just as a chair of the council or the vice chair, they think “well, where is the mayor?" Well, there isn’t one," he said.

Folley wants people to know if someone is elected mayor, they do not have the power to veto anything at City Council — a question he's already been asked by a few residents.

Mayors, like council members, would also only be able to serve two, four-year terms.