Marco Island city manager accused of battery granted leave of absence

Marco Island City Manager Dr. Lee Niblock was granted a leave of absence Tuesday evening after allegations of battery were brought against him.

The Marco Island Police Department received a complaint against Niblock for battery on Feb. 8 and later notified the city council of an investigation.

A week later, councilmembers determined it was their own city manager and had to take action.

“You don’t want to brush it aside, it may come out that there’s a serious issue here and the council will take appropriate action at that time if that is determined to be the case,” Marco Island City Council Chairman Jared Grifoni said.

City councilmembers agreed to put Niblock on a leave of absence while investigators work to uncover details of the accusation.

Alachua County commisioners voted to remove Niblock as county manager in 2017, according to the Gainsville Sun. The paper cites complaints about an unfair employee bonus plan and low morale as the reason for his dismissal.

“Yeah, if he has to come back and even if he’s 100 percent clear he’s going to have to do a lot in the community to build that trust back up and that might not be possible,” Grifoni said.

Once the investigation is complete, councilmembers will determine if Niblock will resume with his title.

Jim Balanco has been named as the interim city manager for the time being.

Reporter:Kelsey Kushner