I worked directly for Thomas J. Willi at Monroe County. He was my direct supervisor. According to members of the Monroe County Board of County Commissioners, Mr. Willi had a bad habit of not communicating. There was a special meeting of this Board in February 2007 where he was reprimanded by a few of HIS bosses - the Monroe County Commission - for exactly this.
Mr. Willi offered me long term employment with Monroe County and encouraged me to buy a house in the Keys. After dealing with him, I quickly learned that he should not be trusted - I signed leases with provisions that they could be terminated with short notice if, for any reason, I left the employ of Monroe County. It is a good thing that I did so - there are not many executive positions in the Florida Keys.
In person, Mr. Willi told me on a number of occasions that "everything was fine" and it was, I suspect, until I made an undisputable justification and an overt budget proposal to rid Monroe County of a contractor that was billing the county to the tune of hundreds of thousands per year for questionable work product under my supervision, as limited by Mr. Willi. I didn't know at the time, but I later learned that this company had worked for Mr. Willi in his prior position. It appears to me now that the principals of this company were personal friends with Mr. Willi.
Within two weeks, I was summarily dismissed for ambiguous "management style" issues, none of which could be substantiated. In my opinion, and that of others, Mr. Willi flat made up lies to tell the press. One of them was that there were "stacks and stacks of employee complaints" about me, when, in truth, he could only produce a few complaints from non-productive employees who were being pressured to actually earn their paychecks.
8 months earlier, after the spate of complaints, Mr. Willi investigated them. Afterwards, he shook my hand, looked me in the eye and told me that I had his "full support."
I was fired within 2 weeks of proposing eliminating Mr. Willi's friend as consultant, 4 days after discussing a protracted health problem with Mr. Willi's Deputy County administrator and 3 days after having surgery for the problem. Mr. Willi told the local radio station that he "had to protect the County," which I took to mean that they needed to protect them from paying my medical bills and potential disability claims.
Mr. Willi has hired 5 department heads in the County. I count that he has fired 3 of them, with the other two being awarded their positions within the last 90 days.
It is my understanding that he was awarded his prior job as Town Administrator of Davie, Florida, when the incumbent Administrator was fired for refusing to dismiss the Fire Chief. Mr. Willi was hired as Acting Town Administrator and, as one of his first acts, fired the fire chief.
I suppose this is something he has found pleasure in doing. He seems to do it a lot. It's too bad he doesn't realize how it disrupts peoples' lives and he doesn't know how to improve employees other than firing them.
When you have fired half the people that report to you, it is my opinion that you should look at your own management style.
It is my understanding that Mr. Willi:
- Fired a department head who was vying for his job when he arrived.
- Fired a department head with 22 years of service who was a friend of a county commissioner who had demanded Mr. Willi be fired. This was under the guise of "eliminating the marine resources department" in the Florida Keys. This was the only employee fired by this elimination of this department.
- Overspent capital project budgets by tens of millions of dollars.
- Overspent into the General Fund reserve and was chastized for it by the Clerk of Court
Two different grand juries have found Mr. Willi's management of construction projects to be inept, costing Monre County tens of millions of dollars.
Why is he still on the job?
Key West, Florida