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Beach approves new contract for Stewart

By Staff | Jan 3, 2011

Fort Myers Beach Town Manager Terry Stewart is now a bit more comfortable in his surroundings. This comes after the FMB Town Council unanimously approved the proposed employment contract with him at its regular meeting at Town Hall Monday morning.
Stewart, who was hired as town manager under an interim contract on Feb. 1, 2010, and received a positive follow-up appraisal at a bench marked performance review Oct. 4, 2010, worked with designated Councilman Alan Mandel to build a legal framework for the contract, which defined conditions including employment, compensation and benefits. The former Cape Coral City Manager will make $120,000 a year at the beach helm.
“I have fully enjoyed working with this council,” said Stewart, who noted it has been 11 months since he began work at town hall. “It truly has been a great experience to work with each (council member), and I look forward to a very positive continued relationship.”
He added that each time someone asks him how his life is now, his reply is always, “You can’t imagine how much better it is.”
Mandel, who handled the contract negotiations, thanked town staff for providing background information on past managers of Fort Myers Beach and comparable incomes of managers across the state.
“I have reviewed detail (information regarding) the last three town manager contracts that we issued here, and had conversations with Mr. Stewart involving compensation, salary and benefits,” said Mandel. “With noted help, I came up with a contract document which seemed appropriate.”
Terms of the contract involve an annual six-month evaluation no later than June 30 and benefits which include standard group health insurance and deferred compensation as well as a vehicle allowance of $500 per month. Termination and severance pay clauses were also discussed.
“I think the $120,000, even though I think that’s more than we’ve ever been paid a town manager, is certainly appropriate with Mr. Stewart’s qualifications,” said Councilman Tom Babcock.
Each council member appeared to agree with Babcock.
Mayor Larry Kiker added a closing comment.
“You’ve got full support of this council,” he said to Stewart. “I’d like to point out to a lot of people this man puts in 10-plus hours a day.”

Beach re-nourishment proposal approved
As part of its administrative agenda, the Fort Myers Beach Town Council unanimously approved to endorse Lee County staff’s recommendation of Florida Dredge and Dock as the preferred proposer for the beach re-nourishment project.
This action happens within the 30-day allotted time following receipt of county staff’s recommendation and allows county staff to move forward on its time line for restoring the northern 0.8-mile section of Fort Myers Beach. The best scenario for actual work on the project is estimated to begin during a late February/early March time frame.
It was noted that Town Environmental Sciences Coordinator Keith Laakkonen reviewed the recommendation and said Lee County Marine Operations Manager Steve Boutelle checked on both listed references and non-listed references of Florida Dredge and Dock. In a memo to Town Manager Terry Stewart, Town Public Works Director Cathie Lewis stated the bid and tabulation was straightforward, and the apparent low bidder had been selected.
“I will tell you that staff has taken a look at the recommendation that has come from Mr. Boutelle’s office,” said Stewart. “Mr. Boutelle indicated to us that the references that he received from (non-listed companies) in some ways exceeded the ones the company had submitted.”
Depending upon the Notice to Proceed date, the project is expected to be completed within a 120 to 150 day range. Based upon reconfiguration, the town’s 8.8-percent portion of the $3.7 million cost is under ceiling at roughly $107,000.