Marco Island City Council voted to put City Manager Lee Niblock on paid administrative leave Tuesday.
The move comes two weeks after the victim filed a complaint with the Marco Island Police Department against Niblock.
“I very much deny what is being said about me, however, I believe for the greater good of this community, it is my duty and ethical responsibility to ask this council to allow me to take a leave of absence," Niblock told councilors.
A vote to fire Niblock failed, but the manager still felt the heat from council members. Councilor Larry Honig told Niblock he would be a distraction if he stayed on the job.
“Word is going to get around the island, that’s going to make it impossible for you to manage the city. You won’t have credibility with women on your staff, you won’t have credibility with professional women around the island."
Marco Island Police declined to say where the battery incident happened, or reveal the victim's name. The investigation has been turned over to the Collier County Sheriff's Office. Council decided not to take any action on Niblock's employment until after the matter is resolved.
“It’s a benefit really for everybody to take a time out, let the facts be sorted out by the proper authorities, and then make a proper decision when the time comes.”
Finance Director Guillermo Polanco will serve as acting manager while Niblock is on leave.