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Top administrator demoted following affair

Report: 'Actions or conduct detrimental to the interest of the city'

June 28, 2018
By VALARIE HARRING ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

The city of Cape Coral's No. 2 administrator was demoted for "actions or conduct detrimental to the interest of the city" after a short-lived extramarital affair with an also married department manager resulted in workplace repercussions.

Michael Ilczyszyn, who had served as the city's assistant city manger since March 2015, was demoted to senior Public Works manager this month after a months-long administrative investigation concluded that the "inappropriate relationship with another employee" adversely affected the city, and also violated the International City/County Management Association's Code of Ethics.

In addition, Ilczyszyn violated department rules and operating procedures by attempting to order an upgraded vehicle that exceeded the city's approved budget price and parameters, the report conducted by Sproat Workplace Investigations and submitted to the city on May 25 concludes.

Ilczyszyn waived his right to appeal and signed a "last chance agreement," accepting the disciplinary action which includes the demotion to the newly created position in Public Works and a 10 percent pay reduction to $112,507 per year with no increase in compensation next year.

... "the City wishes to enforce appropriate discipline against Employee while also providing an opportunity for him to demonstrate his ability to work for the City in full compliance with all applicable rules, regulations, policies, procedures, and guidelines in a manner wholly satisfactory to the City," the agreement signed by Ilczyszyn and City Manager John Szerlag on June 20 states.

Szerlag opted not to re-assign Ilczyszyn to the vacant Public Works deputy director's post after determining "it was not an option for Mr. Ilczyszyn," according to city officials.

"The city manager was not comfortable putting him at that level," city spokesperson Connie Barron said.

At the city manager's request, Council approved the creation of the new post to which Ilczyszyn has been assigned.

Ilczyszyn was placed on administrative leave with pay on Dec. 7 after the Cape Coral Police Department received an email alleging a domestic violence incident with his wife.

Following an investigation by the CCPD and a determination by the State Attorney's Office, no charges were filed.

The city notified Ilczyszyn on Jan. 11, however, that it was extending his paid administrative leave while an inquiry was conducted into "other conduct or practices that violated Workplace Rules," broader than the scope of the domestic violence allegation.

While there were no formal complaints filed, concerns of possible policy violations were expressed by other city employees, the report states.

Ultimately, with the exception of Ilczyszyn's attempt to order a replacement vehicle for the city manager's office that exceeded budget, those concerns - including possible use of city personnel services, supplies, property, facilities or equipment; or engaging in personal or business activities unrelated to city employment during working hours - were not sustained.

There were, though, costs both tangible and intangible, the investigative report concludes.

"The adverse impact to the City was not limited to direct financial harm," the report states. "Ilczyszyn's actions in engaging in the extramarital affair and in handling the aftermath of the affair (including the incident of domestic violence with his wife on December 2, 2017) had consequences (albeit unintential) that adversely affected business operations in the CMO (City Manger's Office.) Rather than foster organizational integrity, Ilczyszyn's conduct may have eroded the public trust in City management and damaged the City's reputation."

The cost of the investigation and report, excluding staff time for the 17 employees interviewed, was $29,960.

Ilczyszyn was paid nearly $53,000 in leave time from his Dec. 7 administrative leave date to his return to work on May 14.

The department manager involved in the consensual affair resigned in its wake. Her compensation as business manager had been $80,912 per year.

Szerlag filled the vacant post in December with a contract employee who has been paid $1,050 per week since. There is no additional cost for benefits as contract employees do not receive benefits, such as health insurance, provided to staff employees.

Ilczyszyn has been employed by the city since December 2002, beginning his tenure in Public Works as a water plant operator trainee. His starting salary as assistant city manager was $115,000.

Neither he nor the former business manager had been subject to any previous formal discipline.

According to background in the investigative report, Ilczyszyn received good performance reviews throughout his 15 years of employment with the city.

The former business manager received excellent performance reviews during her 12 years of employment.

Ilczyszyn could not be reached for comment.



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