Congratulations Roger Hernstadt and Welcome!
Fort Myers Beach has a new Town Manager, or will when he and our Town Council sign a contract. He was selected from four finalists on Monday afternoon following phone interviews, one to one interviews with council, a meet & greet open to residents and interviews with the full council before a vote was taken.
Our Town has a somewhat checkered history with Town Managers having had ten in our first 20 years. Our first, Marsha Segal-George, served the longest from 1996-2005. The second longest serving Town Manager was Terry Stewart 2010-2014. At the other end of the spectrum, we had six different Town Managers in the five years 2005-2010.
Our Town Council members can serve no more than two consecutive terms. Combine that with the fact that our Town staff has experienced a high rate of turnover, especially in the critically important Community Development Department over the past several years, and this leads to a lack of institutional knowledge and that can be problematic.
We really need some stability in Town Hall, from our Town Manager to Town Staff. We hope that the selection of a new Town Manager signals a move toward that stability.
Our Town is in the midst of an unprecedented flurry of infrastructure improvements. Water lines, storm water and of course, the county’s Estero Boulevard project. We also have an application on file to redevelop a good chunk of downtown. We face a lot of growing pains associated with these projects and are looking at a lengthy period of time before they are complete. A good Town Manager will make a difference and be able to bring the many disparate viewpoints to the table as Town Council shepherds these projects to fruition.
We’d remind Islanders that while we are all familiar with these projects and other ongoing issues, Mr. Hernstadt is not. Let’s give him some time to get up to speed on the big issues our Town faces. While he does that, we invite all Islanders to join us in welcoming Roger to our community.
Here in the land of subtle seasonal changes, Easter is a big day. While we don’t have new lambs or tulips springing up in the yard to mark this spring holiday, it is no less important to our community.
Our churches will be celebrating Easter as the greatest feast day of the Christian year. Christians celebrate Easter as the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. That resurrection is honored as a triumph of good over evil, sin and death. Christians recognize it as the single event that proves that those who trust in God and accept Christ will be raised from the dead. For Catholics and many other denominations, Easter follows 40 days of prayer, fasting and almsgiving known as Lent. Other world religions also observe a period of fasting and spiritual reflection during the year, such as Islam’s Ramadan and Jewish Yom Kippur.
While the Easter story is not as cute and cuddly as the Christmas story, Easter, not Christmas, is the linchpin of Christianity. The churches of Fort Myers Beach will be holding services this weekend. You’ll find a list in this issue. The Beach Ministerial Association invites everyone to join the Good Friday service at noon at Chapel by the Sea or Easter sunrise service at 6:30am at Times Square/Lynn Hall Park, or any of the Easter services offered at our six Island houses of worship.
Easter is widely accepted as the end of season, or the beginning of the end of season or approximately when most of our seasonal visitors head north. We hope they all enjoy safe travels home and a wonderful spring and summer. We also hope that they hurry back to see us. An insider’s tip: May & June and October & November are beautiful months here with not a lot of visitors, so they are perfect times to enjoy all the beach has to offer without the crowds.
For Island residents, Easter marks the start of being able to enjoy the paradise that surrounds us year round and that draws the thousands of visitors to our Island. During season, most Islanders are working so much that going to the beach or a day spent strolling Times Square is a luxury. Another way to put it is, now it’s our turn to enjoy all that we love about Fort Myers Beach.
Happy Easter everyone!