Stewart sets sight on Lee County job
Cape Coral City Manager Terry Stewart will seek the Lee County manager position, recently vacated by Don Stilwell when he was ousted by county commissioners for forwarding sexually explicit e-mails.
Stewart told individual council members of his decision to seek the position before their meeting Monday.
Stewart has held the city manager position since 2003, and has presided over Cape Coral’s recent housing boom and bust, garnering praise and scorn in equal measure.
“He’s done a good job, he’s done an admirable job,” Councilmember Dolores Bertolini said.
Council members voted earlier this year to extend Stewart’s contract until February 2011.
The vote was not unanimous, however, as some council members criticized what they considered the unnecessary growth of government when city revenues were rising exponentially and insufficient cuts during the current housing crisis.
“His job is to build an empire, that’s how bureaucrats operate. Because I believe in lean government we’re going to have some differences,” Councilmember Bill Deile said.
Deile pointed out that his differences with Stewart are over his handling of the city, not personal.
“I told him, ‘I have a lot of respect for you.’ There’s nothing personal between us,” he said.
Councilmember Pete Brandt, an outspoken critic of Stewart who voted against his contract extension, had no comment on Stewart’s application for the county job.
Stewart had no comment on his possible career move, preferring to focus on the council’s Monday night meeting.