Four candidates remain to replace Fort Myers City Manager
FORT MYERS, Fla. — The search for a new City Manager in Fort Myers has been narrowed down to four candidates.
The current City Manager, Saeed Kazemi, announced in December that he planned to retire in May.
Fort Myers started accepting applications in January. They got 113 resumes from around the country. As of this week, they’ve narrowed that list down to four people. Mayor Kevin Anderson says he’s eager to pick the best person for the job.
Someone will likely be picked before Kazemi retires on May 3rd, Anderson said, but the new candidate may not be fully trained and ready by then.
“There will be a gap there, and we will have to consider how we fill that gap,” Anderson said. “Whether we look externally for an interim city manager or we tap someone internally.”
Anderson said they’ve narrowed the list to Steve Howard, Thomas Hutka, Marty Lawing and Jane Shang.
One of the final four candidates, Shang, was investigated by state officials for voter fraud claims with her own personal ballot. She resigned as the Deltona City Manager in 2020. Anderson said he didn’t see a real intention to commit fraud or a reason to disqualify her for the claims.
“There was a fine paid and the matter was resolved,” Anderson said.
Officials with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement confirmed that a State Attorney issued a deferred prosecution in Shang’s case. Shang also completed 100 hours of community service as part of the agreement.
Anderson also pushed back against claims that the city wasn’t being transparent during the search.
“All I can do is speak for myself,” Anderson said. “As always, I’ve always made myself available and when appropriate I answer the questions in the most transparent manner.”
Whoever gets the spot will have big issues to tackle right away. Anderson said homelessness, affordable housing and economic growth are his top priorities.
“This city is in a position to really explode in a good way, with growth. And we need a visionary and somebody who can not only envision these things but can make them happen,” Anderson said.
This week, council members will start interviewing the final four candidates in person. Anderson says there will be a public town hall with those four as well.
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