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Town government is anything but ‘lite’

By Staff | Apr 29, 2020

To the editor:

Seldom has the misdirection of anything-but-lite Fort Myers Beach town government been more obvious than in the two stories on page 6 of your April 22 edition.

“Running out of patience” details how Pink Shell Resort owner Robert Boykin faces unprecedented challenges trying to keep his business in business. He and other FMB lodging operators must adhere to town council’s forced 90-day shutdown and the economic hell of no income. Indeed, survival is at stake for most in our FMB business community.

Apparently there’s no such money problem at Town Hall where “Fort Myers Beach hires social media and communications coordinator.” City Manager Roger Hernstadt reportedly made the high-priced hire to, in his words, “lighten the load on town staff.”

The new job’s wishy-washy, feel-good description conjures up a public relations gofer for such tasks as “community outreach to improve public awareness of town services.” FMB is all too aware of such as exemplified by the town’s reputation for heavy-handed code enforcement with high-dollar fines some claim are aimed at filling Town Hall coffers.

Our little town nicely benefits from Lee County and other excellent national, regional and local tourism campaigns. Our top-notch Chamber of Commerce constantly builds awareness. They are “getting the word out” just fine.

If Town Hall wants someone to spend (waste) time on social media accounts such as Twitter, Facebook, Snap, TikTok, Instagram, etc., hire an inexpensive intern.

Right now is not the time to add another $75,000-a-year government job. Gross that up with FICA, insurance and pension contributions and the real cost to taxpayers tops $90,000.

Here’s something better: Nothing personal but ditch the new hire and save the money. Or, distribute the $90,000-plus among local businesses to help them get through council’s 90-day shutdown. Maybe even ask town employees to “donate” 10% of their continuing paychecks to unemployed workers without one.

That would be the Town of Fort Myers Beach performing a real service.

L. Charles Wood

Fort Myers Beach