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Monday, November 19, 2007

I'm OK, You're OK

By Doug Enman

This is a story that began in spring of 2006. The place is Marco Island Florida. The issue is the location of a sewage lift station in an easement on my property. The point of the story is my opinion as to how Mr. A. William Moss, Marco Island City manager, used and misused his position and power to influence me, my wife and the Marco Island City Council.

The first part of this story opens in a conference room at the Marco Island City Hall. In attendance is the city’s attorney, the city’s STRP project manager, the Public Works Director, Mr. A. William Moss, a city council candidate, my attorney, my wife and myself. After the usual introductions, Mr. A. William Moss proceeds to explain that the sewage lift station, they plan to install, is benign, quite, almost odorless and will be well landscaped to minimize its intrusive appearance. After making each sub point in his presentation he looks at my wife and me and says OKAY.

When he is finished with his presentation, I tell Mr. A. William Moss it is NOT OKAY to install this lift station at his proposed location because it will damage my existing septic tank. Being the well informed and well prepared manager that he is; he pulls out a site survey of my property and shows me the location of a septic tank on the drawing. He then says that because the tank is here and not where you say it is there will be no damage to it by the construction of the sewage lift station OKAY. I respond with, it is NOT OKAY because your drawing is incorrect with respect to the driveway and the orientation of the house. I then pull out the FINAL site survey, filed with the Collier County Health Department, and show Mr. A. William Moss the ACTUAL location of the tank and in order to prove to him that it is too close to the easement to construct a sewage lift station without damaging my septic tank. We suggest alternative sites and configurations be discussed at a second meeting. A second meeting did occur and the final configuration of the sewage lift station was agreed upon. A configuration, which to date, is used to construct other sewage lift stations.

The second part of my story opens at a city council meeting. At this meeting Mr. A. William Moss is presenting his reasoning for awarding contracts for STRP and Collier Boulevard. After each sub point he looks at the council, takes a breath and says OKAY. Councilors dutifully buy into his reasoning by looking glazed over and remaining silent. After all, he has all the facts and they only have an executive summary yellow sheet, which, by the way Mr. A. William Moss writes for them. After a short comment period with very little or no debate the contracts are awarded as presented to the bidders recommended by Mr. A. William Moss. The city manager flashes his OKAY back to the councilors and their unanimous vote is duly recorded by the City Clerk. What other outcome could one expect after Mr. A. William Moss obtained ‘buy-in’ using the same OKAY technique with individual councilors during phone calls, in e-mails, and over lunch?

This event coupled with my personal experience with Mr. A. William Moss drove me to view some of the video tapes on the city’s web site. Several show a similar pattern to the meeting in which I observed this behavior originally. Any college freshman who has taken Psychology 101 will recall this behavior as the ‘I’m OKAY your OKAY’ theory in Transactional analysis. It seems, to me, that Mr. A. William Moss has artfully and masterfully managed to pre-destine a single outcome from council votes for most of the past ten years. I, for one, must give credit where credit is due however, when one uses a manipulative and bad behavior to influence outcomes it is a discredit to that person. I wish Mr. A. William Moss well in his future endeavors’ but I will not mourn his departure.

Doug Enman


1 Comments:

  • A Dumb Idea

    Normally it is a good idea for citizens to be interested in participating in shaping the future of their community by running for public office. But looking over the coming election on Marco Island we must put things in perspective. There are four seats up for election. If there are four candidates who are pledged to change the disastrous course of Marco Island they stand an excellent chance in unseating the one incumbent and winning. If however six or eight citizens are vying for the position then the votes will be diluted and the incumbent will retain his seat. A plurality of candidates on the side for change will be a disaster. If the "Johnny come latelys" are really interested in change they should remove themselves from the contest. Only in this way can we insure a victory for the citizens.

    By Anonymous Humphrey Sarlo, at Tuesday, November 20, 2007 12:25:00 PM  

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