All eyes are on the Fort Myers Beach Town Council election on Tuesday, March 7th, but once the election is over, Town Council will immediately turn its attention to the search for a new Town Manager.
The Town of Fort Myers Beach has had eleven managers in its 20 years of existence. Interim Town Manager Jim Steele has been serving the Town since June 2016. He was preceded by Don Stilwell who was Town Manager from January 2014 – June 2016. Terry Stewart served as Town Manager from 2010-2014. Prior to Stewart the Town had seven Town Managers in five years following the resignation of Marsha Segal-George, who was Town Manager from the time of incorporation until 2005.
Applications were due by February 14th and 77 candidates applied for the job. Council members are reviewing the applications now through March 13th when they will be asked to rank candidates. Council will finalize a short list at their meeting on March 20th for interviews at the April 3rd meeting. A decision is expected shortly after interviews are held. Council may change these dates, though these are the dates shared with applicants.
With between one and three new council members taking their seats on council on March 20th, there will be some serious homework for the new member(s) to catch up to speed on the 77 candidates and the process of selection.
The job opening drew applicants from as far away as Oregon, California, Colorado and Arizona and as close as Fort Myers Beach, Bonita Springs and Cape Coral. Twenty-nine applicants are from Florida. The rest are from the East Coast, Southeast or Midwest.
Experience in municipal government ranges from 0 to 40 years. Twenty-one applicants indicated either no experience in a municipal government or less than four years. Eight have 5-10 years experience with a town/city government; twenty have 11-20 years; nineteen have 21-30 years and nine have 31-40 years.
Thirty-seven applicants have no manager/assistant manager experience. Those who listed town or county manager or assistant manager experience range from 38 years experience in the manager or assistant manager role to less than a year. Of the Florida applicants, 13 have some experience leading a municipality as a manager or assistant manager.
The list of 77 candidates is available on the Town website, fortmyersbeachfl.gov. A book of the candidate’s application materials is available in the Town Hall lobby.