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SPLIT REACTION: Fort Myers city leaders respond to email calling to cut ties to city manager

Marty Lawing
Posted at 6:38 PM, Jan 04, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-04 18:52:18-05

FORT MYERS, Fla. — An email from a city employee blasting the city manager and assistant city manger has been the talk here at city hall.

Fox 4's Briana Brownlee first told you about the letter Wednesday, after an anonymous writer emailed council and the mayor to stated Marty Lawing created a toxic work environment.

Now the council is weighing in.

"I invite criticism, I invite comments, if we don't know what's broken how do we fix it?," said Councilman Liston Bochette who represents Ward 4.

He thinks a change should be considered when it comes to the city's HR policies.

"I don't really put a lot of stock in what was said or the allegations as there were no details," said Councilman Fred Burson who represents Ward 5.

He the email isn't enough to draw concern.

Those are the first comments from any council member, since the letter was released.

It accused city manager Marty Lawing and assistant city manager John Lege of favoritism and discrimination.

In part it reads

"In the past three years, he has brought that same brand of negligent and prejudice leadership here. As employees, we have no other recourse than to send you an open letter urging his immediate removal, because his hr department covers up the concerns that employees have brought forward. He has strategically hired like-minded individuals who look like him and act like him."

City Employees letter to mayor and council

"It was basically just a letter outlining the fact that an individual doesn't like the city manager or the system," Burson said "There is nothing to back up those derogatory remarks."

City employee letter to council and mayor 3

Fox 4's Briana Brownlee asked Councilman Burson if he feared the letter represented multiple employees.

Councilman Fred Burson and WFTX Reporter Briana Brownlee

"I think it's one letter representing one employee," Burson said.

Councilman Burson echos Mayor Kevin Anderson saying there isn't enough for an investigation.

Councilman Bochette didn't directly answer if the email will lead to an investigation, but says the city needs to make a change to do better.

"I think we need to get back to our old city policies and HR. We need a suggestion box in the lobby where anyone can put something in and not feel threaten," Bochette said. "Most of the time they pass quickly and there are irritations, so we'll look into this we can do better."

Other council members couldn't be reach for comment on the situation.

However, Lege quickly declined when asked.

Lawing still hasn't responded to requests for an interview.