Town Manager’s Evaluation Could Be Held in June


As stated in his contract, embattled town manager Roger Hernstadt is required to have his performance reviewed by the town council in a public meeting, as an agenda item, between February and May. While that did not happen, it looks like it may happen on June 7th.

Councilman Jim Atterholt raised the question early on during the town council meeting Monday, which prompted the discussion that could lead to his public evaluation next month.

Town attorney John Herin does not believe the council’s failure to evaluate the manager before the end of May voids his contract, which also calls for each council member to meet with the manager individually to provide feedback, before the public evaluation, which the council also did not do. Council members will use the time between now and the June 7th meeting to meet with Hernstadt.

Mayor Murphy, who sets the agenda for town council meetings, with the town manager, seemed unaware that every council member was required to meet with Hernstadt before the public evaluation. “If you want to review the town manager, if in fact it’s in the contract, you are to meet with him individually, my suggestion would be to go ahead and meet with him individually, and we can bring it back at the first meeting in June.”

Hernstadt was hired in 2017 after quitting the same job he held on Marco Island. He’s the highest paid employee the Fort Myers Beach taxpayers are footing the bill for. When Hernstadt was hired he was getting paid $140,000. That salary jumped to $155,000 ninety days later. He’s now paid a base salary of $171,000 which includes 15 days to work from home, not including his vacation time. He also receives $600 per month vehicle allowance. Hernstadt’s pay increase to $171,000 was railroaded through by the Tracey Gore/Dennis Boback town council in March of 2019, which also extended his contract to 2024. It was set to expire this year.

There are many people in the community who believe it’s time for Hernstadt to move on, that Fort Myers Beach could do much better with the amount of money it’s paying Hernstadt and with so much change up ahead for the beach. His lack of communication with the community is the biggest reason people are hoping for change. The public will be able to comment on Hernstadt’s performance during public comment period at the June 7th meeting.

There’s been a lot of local upheaval in the manager’s position as of late. Last week Naples city manger Charles Chapman resigned, Sanibel city manager Judy Zimomra announced she’d be retiring after 20 years and the City of Fort Myers recently hired a new manager after Saeed Kazemi was asked to retire by Mayor Kevin Anderson.

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