Monday started with a meet-and-greet for the community to get to know the four finalists chosen by Interim Town Manager Keith Wilkins to fill the position of Fort Myers Beach Town Manager.
The meet-and-greet was followed by private sessions each candidate had with Town Council members and town staff. A regular Town Council meeting was then held at 1:00 where each council member asked the finalists more questions. The council then ranked each of the four finalists. Whoever received the lowest score would be the top choice.
Andrew Hyatt received a score of 5. Jeff Wilkins was the second choice of the council with a score of 11. Both Seth Lawless and Jeff Shoobridge received a score of 14. The council then directed the Town Attorney to enter into contract negotiations with Hyatt.
During the discussion of the candidates, council member Karen Woodson said she had a huge red flag about Hyatt because of a diversity comment he made during their private interviews. Woodson did not specify what Hyatt said and the rest of the council did not ask. Woodson was then appointed the liason for the council in Hyatt’s contract negotiations due to her extensive H.R. background.
Hyatt is from Ponte Vedra Beach. He was most recently the Town Manager for the town of Surfside, Florida where he had to deal with the largest building collapse in the history of the state. 98 people died in that tragedy back in June of 2021.
Prior to Surfside, Hyatt was the Texas State Director for K9s For Warriors in San Antonio. He’s also been the City Manager in Neptune Beach, Florida, the City Manager in East Ridge, Tennessee, the City Manager for Fairview, Tennessee, the City Manager for Etowah, Tennessee, the Community Development Manager for Deerfield Beach, Florida and Senior Administrator for the City of Jacksonville.
You can see our interview with Hyatt at the Monday morning meet-and-greet HERE.
Keith Wilkins and Chris Holly are on a 6-month contract to run the town following the resignation of Roger Hernstadt when John King and Karen Woodson were elected last November. One of their assignments was to find a new Town Manager. There were about 80 applicants for the position but not all 80 were qualified for the job. Wilkins and Holly picked five finalists from the qualified candidates. The 5th finalist accepted another position which narrowed the field to four.
If the town and Hyatt are able to come to an agreement on a contract the residents of Fort Myers Beach could have a new town manager in place in less than 30 days. Hyatt will be paid between $160,000 and $210,000 per year.
He does not seem like someone we need at this critical time in FMB seems like lots of wrong doings so far..what brought up red flag…why appointed I just dont get it ..havnt we been duped by last town manager? Has common sense gone to hell on FMB once again? What is going on? Please someone explain!!!!!
Are you sure this isn’t the Easter Bunny in disguise. Hops more than a one legged man in an ass kicking contest.
My question would be, why do you job hop so much? That does not look favorably for him.
Why isn’t this an elected position?
No one asked Karen what the red flag was about? Seems like that would be my first question
So, this council shatters the spirit of Florida’s open government law by meeting individually in private with manager applicants and not disclosing what was said behind those doors.
A winner is picked, a public salary is offered, financed by taxpayers who have been left in the dark on a key piece of the decision making process. It is wrong, and a contradiction of the law’s requirement that every step of the decision making process be open and public.
I agree. This is wrong.
It’s obvious from his resume that he’s just a short term fill in until he gets a higher paying job somewhere else. I hope he does some good work here because FMB is still a disaster area 6 months after the storm. Some places look like little or nothing has been done!
8 different positions would be a red flag for me. Our Village Manager was in the position for over 20 years and very good