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CRA offers interim head permanent slot; Three-year deal on table

By Staff | Sep 10, 2008

In a step toward stabilizing the leadership of the Cape Coral Community Redevelopment Agency, CRA board members voted unanimously Tuesday to offer current interim executive director and former board member John Jacobsen a three-year contract, to begin January 2009.

Jacobsen was named to the post on an interim basis in June after the former executive director, Chris Norton, was terminated without pay after six months on the job.

“I don’t think there is a man or woman in the entire country that is more qualified to be the CRA director of the city of Cape Coral than the man sitting right here,” said CRA board member Don Heisler, referring to Jacobsen.

Despite the unanimous vote, some board members worried about the public perception of hiring from within.

“I would feel remiss if we didn’t publicly discuss the option of hiring someone from the outside,” said CRA board member Scott Hertz. “I at least feel obligated to put the options out there so that this isn’t perceived as just a snap decision.”

Hertz and the rest of the CRA Board, however, concurred that eliminating the “interim” title from Jacobsen’s executive director title would be the best option.

“There’s no guarantee that going through that (selection) process gets you the right person,” said CRA board member Bob Greco.

Jacobsen’s current contract calls for compensation of $75 per hour and runs for a total of 1,000 hours or until the end of the year, whichever comes first.

The city’s financial services director, Mark Mason, will now enter into negotiations with Jacobsen and return with a detailed contract to be voted on by CRA board members at their Sept. 25 meeting. The contract will only be for one year but will contain an automatic renewal of up to three years.

Mason was also directed by the board to reference Norton’s annual salary of $95,000 when negotiating the contract.