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Council declines to give Town Manager raise

By Staff | Mar 18, 2020

Town Manager Roger Hernstadt's salary will stay put at $170,887.50. NATHAN MAYBERG

The Town of Fort Myers Beach Council elected not to give a raise to Town Manger Roger Hernstadt during a discussion at its March 13 meeting.

Councilmember Rexann Hosafros pushed against a raise for Hernstadt saying she felt that he got a double raise last year when his salary increased to $170,887.50. Last year, the council also extended his contract to five years through 2024. The town council also agreed to allow Hernstadt to work remotely for 15 days between June and July each year which Hosafros said allowed him to not use vacation time, which he could cash out.

“I didn’t like the way that it went through,” Hosafros said.

“I feel that Roger is doing a good job and under other circumstances I might say give him a raise but I feel he got a double raise last year.”

Hernstadt was hired by the town in 2017 on a salary of $140,000 that increased to $155,000 after 90 days.

“I think he deserves a raise,” Councilmember Bruce Butcher said. “I think he’s done a heck of a job.”

Councilmember Joanne Shamp said he should be given a raise of “at least a minimum of between 3 and 5 percent.”

“When you have an executive who is running the town well, if you don’t give them a raise you have decreased their salary,” Shamp said. She cited Hernstadt’s attendance at fundraisers for local organizations as a reason to keep him on. “I’ve seen him spend $300 on this and $200 on that.” To not give him a raise “would be improper,” she said.

Mayor Anita Cereceda opposed the raise for Hernstadt last year and continued to do so on Friday. “I feel especially right now in terms with what we are looking at right now on the horizon I feel that the prudent track is to keep everything intact and if the next council decides to make changes they have that prerogative,” Cereceda said.

Hosafros said the town attorney wasn’t given a raise either.

Vice Mayor Ray Murphy also indicated that Hernstadt’s salary should remain the same.

“There really isn’t anything else to do here,” Cereceda said. “There is three of us who wish to leave the contract as is intact and thank Roger for his continued work and move on.”

After Shamp continued to press for a raise saying that a raise of at least 3 percent should be given as a cost of living increase, Cereceda said “do you know that, forget about average, the people of this community what they are going to suffer economically this year? I can’t ask it.”