Beleaguered Beach manager offered to resign post
Fort Myers Beach Town Manager Scott Janke offered to resign from his position before the town council terminated him “without cause” at an emergency meeting, according to a statement by Mayor Larry Kiker.
Town officials have been struggling to deal with local and national media inquiries related to the firing of Janke after news surfaced that his wife was an adult film star known as Jazella Moore. Although, Janke was terminated under a 5-0 decision, Kiker insisted that it was not because of his wife’s profession.
“What people are reacting to are the headlines, not the story,” said Kiker. “The headlines read that we fired him because she is a porn star. We didn’t do that, we didn’t even talk about her.”
The Daily Breeze first contacted Janke on Tuesday afternoon to confirm information and receive comment on an on-line news report stating that Anabela Mota Janke was Jazella Moore. At the time Kiker said he never heard of the report and Scott Janke said it was a “complete shock.”
Kiker said that Janke’s first reaction was to resign because the predicted upcoming media storm would not allow him to “be able to effectively manage the city based on the distractions he saw coming.”
But, when the council met later that night in a hastily called emergency session, their decision was to terminate him “without cause,” a motion leaving Janke with a severance package valued at $50,000 plus health benefits.
Kiker said the decision to terminate Janke centered more on legal grounds than financial concerns, but in the end it allowed him to walk away with the maximum amount of benefits given the circumstances. If the council had accepted his resignation Janke would have received two months of salary and 100 percent benefits, he said.
“We decided to terminate his contract without cause in lieu of his resignation which allowed him to get maximum benefits,” said Kiker.
Although the small beach town with some 6,000 residents wanted to avoid distractions related to this story, mounting national headlines have, ironically, consumed the news on Fort Myers Beach.
Officials have been busy answering hundreds of messages while receiving invitations to appear on nationally syndicated television shows such as Inside Edition and Good Morning America.
Over the last 48 hours Kiker said his life has been consumed by answering media calls and now the city is trapped in just the sort of situation officials were looking to avoid.
Furthermore, city officials have received hundreds of angry e-mails on a topic that has been misrepresented by the media, he said.
“I have tried to answer every email personally that I got and I can tell you the reaction was in favor of Mr. Janke, based on the headline that we fired him because his wife is a porn star,” said Kiker.
The Town Council unanimously voted Wednesday night to install Public Works Director Jack Green as interim town manager until a replacement can be found. Members of the Town Council said in earlier interviews that they wished Janke had told them about his wife’s profession before it was brought to light this week.
On Friday morning, Janke and his wife appeared on CBS’ The Early Show where they discussed his termination.
“Because of my professional ethics I was concerned about the town. We have children and family members all over the country, we are concerned about those types of things,” said Janke in the interview.
The couple, who were married in October 2008, added that they’ve received hundreds of e-mails supporting them. For the last nine months, Anabela Mota Janke said she’s kept a “low-profile” out of concern for her husband’s job.
According to news reports, Janke’s wife has been featured in adult films and magazines.
He was hired as town manager of Fort Myers Beach in March 2008 after working in various public service positions for over 20 years.
In 2002 he worked as city manager in the newly incorporated City of Marathon in the Keys and before that he served as president of the Alaska City Managers Association in 1997.