Councilman: Lack of disclosure, issue of judgement led to town manager’s termination
Fort Myers Beach officials, who voted unanimously to fire the town manager without cause Tuesday night, say they were blindsided by media inquiries asking about reports that Scott Janke’s wife was involved in the adult entertainment business.
Fort Myers Beach Councilman Bob Raymond, reached via phone from his summer home in New Hampshire, said he wished he would have known about the situation beforehand.
“I wish we had we known something about this before and it was brought to our attention,” he said. “Anybody who had this (information) should have notified us that there was a possibility of this coming out. If, in fact, we would have known about this ahead of time, it would have been a lot simpler for us to try to back him or whatever. You can’t just have this come out of the sky. I think he owed it to us to tell us about it. It’s a matter of judgement.”
Raymond said the position of town manager requires sound judgement.
“I had a couple of calls this morning with people screaming for what we did,” he said about the firing. “We have to look out for the best interest of the town.”
That means looking for a short-term solution in the wake of last night’s emergency meeting, he said.
“Basically, right now we’re looking at who is going to do (the town manger position) short-term,” Raymond said. “If you follow the natural line of progression, Public Works Director Jack Green would be in charge today. If he’s out of town — right now he’s in Connecticut– (Director of Finance) Evelyn (Wicks) would be next.”
Raymond said he has no issue with Janke personally.
“I really like the guy, to be honest with you,” said Raymond. “That hasn’t changed. But, we have to look at what are the best interests of the people of the town.”
“We have to look forward,” said Raymond. “We have issues going on. There are priorities with everything. This will not take long for someone to fill the postition. Now we have to find another person. It’s unfortunate.”
The FMB Town Council will re-convene tonight as part of a “continuation” of a special meeting at town hall tonight at 7 p.m.
Meanwhile, others on the Beach were also caught by surprise.
Greater Fort Myers Beach Area Chamber of Commerce President John Albion was shocked to hear the news.
“It’s a great concern for the chamber of commerce,” said Albion. “I did not know about the emergency meeting held last night. It’s terrible timing because of the town budget that needs to be addressed.”
Albion believes certain things will come to light at tonight’s “continuation” of a special meeting surrounding this topic.
“It should be interesting and a packed house,” he said.