The Fort Myers Beach Town Council, as required by the town manager’s contract, publicly reviewed Roger Hernstadt’s job performance at their Monday meeting. Mayor Ray Murphy said of Hernstadt, “I think you’re doing a great job. Keep up the great work.”
Murphy said, it’s no secret that he’s very pleased with Hernstadt’s performance. “One of the big problems is he doesn’t blow his own horn enough.” Murphy also said Hernstadt’s salary is below market value. Hernstadt is paid over $200,000 per year when all of his benefits are added in.
Concilman Jim Atterholt was a little less glowing about Hernstadt. While the big three construction projects (Bayside Park, Bay Oaks and Times Square) play into Hernstadt’s strengths, Atterholt would like to see the town’s relationship with Lee County improve and better communication with the community. “We have a great story to tell on the island, I would encourage you to continue to tell it. If we don’t tell our story, other people are going to tell it” Atterholt wants Hernstadt to get out and tell that story more to the media. Atterholt has consistently stated that he wants Hernstadt to get out more and engage with the public.
Councilman Dan Allers who one year ago tried to work toward replacing Hernstadt said Monday that he’s had private conversations with Hernstadt about his performance and nothing has really changed.
Councilman Bill Veach said he speaks with Hernstadt often about things he thinks the manager is doing well and things he disagrees with. “He’s got a good skillset for where we are now. I’m not a big fan of changing horses in mid-stream, especially when we don’t have a better horse ready to go.”
Hernstadt’s contract runs through 2024. There was no discussion of a contract extension or a raise at the Monday meeting.
Since incorporation in 1996 Fort Myers Beach has been somewhat of a revolving door in the town manager’s position. By comparison, Judy Zimomra was Sanibel’s City Manager for 20 years before she retired last year. Since 1996, Fort Myers Beach has employed 11 people in that position.
The Fort Myers Beach Town Manager roster over the years
Jan 1996- Dec 2005 – Marsha Segal-George (fired)
Dec. 2005-Feb. 2006 – (Interim) John Gucciardo (quit)
April 2006-October 2006 – Rachel Lambert (quit)
Nov. 2006 – Mar. 2007 – (Acting) David Sallee (temporary)
Mar 2007 – Oct. 2007 – Gary Parker (quit)
Nov. 2007 – Mar. 2008 – David Sallee (temporary)
Mar. 2008 – July 2009 – Scott Janke (fired)
July 2009 – Feb. 2010 – (Interim) Jack Green (temporary)
Feb. 2010 – Feb. 2014 – Terry Stewart (resigned)
April 2014 – May 2015 – Don Stilwell (fired)
May 2016 – May 2017 – Jim Steele (temporary)
May 2017 – Present Roger Hernstadt
*** A previous version of this story said Terry Stewart was fired. He was not. He resigned.