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Marco City Council unanimously votes to fire city manager

Posted at 8:07 PM, Mar 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-19 22:44:11-04

After just a few months on the job, Marco Island City Manager Dr. Lee Niblock is unemployed.

City Council voted 7-0 Monday night to fire Niblock, after an investigation determined he may have violated the city’s code of ethics.

Niblock is under investigation after someone filed a battery complaint against him last month.  The case has been turned over to the Collier County Sheriff’s Office.  Niblock was placed on paid administrative leave last month.

Council Chairman Jared Grifoni says Niblock is not being fired for the battery complaint, but instead for violating the city’s code of ethics.

An internal investigation revealed Niblock interviewed a prospective employee while consuming alcohol and tried to influence the investigation of the battery allegations against him.

He also came under scrutiny for sending an email comparing his plans to fire city employees to a “St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.”

Niblock wasn’t at the meeting, but his attorney Sawyer Smith told Fox 4 in a statement:

“The City of Marco Island has cast its vote, and we look forward to standing with our client and protecting his rights.  This isn’t the first time we’ve had to standup to a rogue city government, and we look forward to our day in court."

Councilors did not specify an effective date for Niblock’s termination.  He was hired by the city in December of 2017.