Is a mayor coming to Marco Island? Council elects chair and vice chair, talks about raise

Marco Island City Council Dec. 4, 2024
Marco Island City Council Dec. 4, 2024

As it does annually, Marco Island City Council Monday night elected a new chair and vice chair. Then they voted to move a salary increase and a change to the title of mayor one step closer to voters.

Jared Grifoni, who served as vice chair in 2023, was unanimously elected chairman. He also was chairman in 2021 and 2017/2018. He also served as vice chair 2016/2017, 2019/2020 and 2021/2022. Council member Joe Rola nominated Rich Blonna for the position; he declined the nomination. Grifoni's role began immediately.

Marco Island City Council unanimously elected Jared Grifoni as chair for 2024. Grifoni served as vice chair in 2023 until the change Monday night.
Marco Island City Council unanimously elected Jared Grifoni as chair for 2024. Grifoni served as vice chair in 2023 until the change Monday night.

Erik Brechnitz, who nominated Grifoni for chair, was elected as vice chair by a 4-3 vote. He was nominated by council member and immediate past chair Greg Folley. Grifoni nominated council member Blonna.

Marco City Councilman Erik Brechnitz
Marco City Councilman Erik Brechnitz

Grifoni, an attorney and a business owner, was first elected to City Council in 2016. He was re-elected in 2020.

A graduate of Merrimack College with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a double major in Philosophy, Grifoni received his Juris Doctor from Suffolk University Law School, according to his City Council biography. He practices law but is not with a particular firm. Grifoni said he is part owner of the Italian Deli and Market on Marco Island and Dunkin' Donuts on Vanderbilt Beach Road in Naples.

"I look forward to serving again in this role," Grifoni said.

Council moves mayor title, council pay increase closer to voters

​A proposal by Grifoni to change the title of chairman and vice chairman to mayor and vice mayor was approved 6-1 on first reading, pushing it a step closer to going before the voters to consider.

A second reading will be held by City Council in January. If approved, voters will get a say in March during the Presidential Preference Primary.

"This is the proposal that makes no changes, that does not create a new elected office," Grifoni said. "It does two things – it changes the title from chair to mayor and vice chair to vice mayor."

"I'm going to support this. I think it’s got some flaws. I think it’s a first step," Brechnitz said. "I think the mayor ought to be elected directly by the voters. … That was my proposal originally. It failed and this is the compromise, I’ll call it. And I’ll support that. I will continue to advocate for having the mayor elected in the future."

Grifoni also proposed that a salary increase for council be part of a referendum in March. It was approved on first reading 5-2 with council members Folley and Rola voting against it.

If approved on second reading in January and then by voters in March, council members would see a pay increase that coincides with the general wage adjustment city employees receive beginning with the 2026-27 fiscal year.

"The reasoning when the city attorney and I went over some of this after our council discussion a couple of months ago was to prevent anyone on the current council from being eligible for the salary increase prior to having to go in front of the voters again yourselves," Grifoni said.

It's way past due, Blonna said. With five seats open in the 2024 election, "I think we need to do everything we can to attract as many people to run through those things as possible."

This article originally appeared on Naples Daily News: Marco Island council elects chair and vice chair, talks about raise