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Stuart commission taps City Attorney Mike Mortell to succeed David Dyess as interim manager

NewsStuart commission taps City Attorney Mike Mortell to succeed David Dyess as interim manager

STUART — The City Commission Thursday unanimously named City Attorney Mike Mortell as interim city manager to temporarily succeed City Manager David Dyess.

What happened: The commission selected Mortell for the interim role for six months starting March 31. There will be a three-month “check-in” to determine whether the commission wants to do a broader search for a permanent manager.

Mortell will receive no pay raise from his current $187,250 salary to serve as interim city manager.

Dyess has resigned from his Stuart job to become village manager of Juno Beach in Palm Beach County. His last day in Stuart is March 30, according to city spokesperson Misti Guertin.

The commission Thursday also unanimously named former City Manager Paul Nicoletti as interim city attorney.

City of Stuart attorney Michael Mortell (left) and interim city manger David Dyess listen during a workshop discussing a Brightline station Monday, Sept. 17, 2018 at city hall in Stuart. Mayor Kelli Glass Leighton said the event was not a formal meeting, but simply a workshop for the benefit of the public. She suspected action will be taken during the first meeting in October.

Why it matters: Mortell is a former Stuart mayor who served on the City Commission for a decade before becoming city attorney in 2013. Nicoletti was city attorney from 2005-2011, then was city manager until retiring in 2017.

Their appointments come about a month after Dyess’ resignation. A Florida retirement program requiring employees to leave their posts after a specific amount of service meant Dyess had to look for another job elsewhere, he said. A former Stuart police chief, he has been a city employee 33 years.

Dyess must start in Juno Beach no later than May 1, according to his contract. His salary will be $183,000, roughly a 4% raise from his current $176,342.

Former City Attorney and City Manager Paul Nicoletti will be returning to Stuart as interim city attorney.

Notable statements:

  • Mortell: “I didn’t have any intention to change my contract because if you decided not to hire me or make me a permanent city manager, then there’s really no point in me negotiating the contract … From now until at least July, I will be doing litigation,” he said in reference to pending legal matters he’s unable to transfer to Nicoletti.
  • City Commissioner Campbell Rich on the city not accepting manager applications for at least three months: “I happen to know there are experienced city managers who live in the city of Stuart (and) who would have an interest in the position. And we’re saying, “Tough”?
  • Mayor Troy McDonald, in response to Rich: “No, we’re not saying that. We’re saying that we’re pursuing someone internally that we think would do a fine job taking care of the city.”

Background:

  • Stuspanrt City Mspannspanger Dspanvid Dyess to step down, tspanke job spans Juno Bespanch town mspannspanger
  • Former Stuspanrt mspanyor hired spans new city spanttorney
  • Stuspanrt City Mspannspanger Pspanul Nicoletti retires spanfter nespanrly 12 yespanrs with city

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