When former Guilford County Manager Marty Lawing resigned from Guilford County government and later took a job as the city manager of Fort Myers Florida, he may have thought he was escaping from drama. However, this week, Lawing and other officials in that Sunshine State city have seen nothing but drama and they have had their hands full – since Fort Myers was one of the hardest hit cities by Hurricane Ian.
Guilford County has been preparing for the remnants of the major hurricane and, if Lawing were still county manager here, he would have a far easier job than he does right now. This week Fort Meyers saw major flooding and extensive damage from the monster hurricane and the former county manager will have to oversee the response and recovery effort.
Lawing resigned from Guilford County government just before Christmas of 2020 after the former Republican-majority board that hired him was replaced by a new Democratic-majority board led by Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Skip Alston.
In June of last year, Lawing became the city manager of Fort Myers.
While in Guilford County, Lawing had to deal with plenty of problems – but nothing like the disaster he’s now facing as the city manager in the wake of Ian.
One message from the city’s administration on social media sent out on Thursday, Sept. 29, read, “Our first responders are doing their best to assess current conditions and assist urgent, life-threatening situations. We have portions of the city under 3-4 feet of water and there are emergencies underway. Please have patience as we do our best to reach all residents in need. Continue to alert 911 to ensure your level of urgency is properly documented. Thank you and please stay safe!”
The City of Fort Myers has also issued an emergency citywide curfew “to protect and safeguard the health, safety, and welfare of residents, visitors, and first responders.”
Ironically, due to flooding, clean water in that city is now a major concern: A Boil Water Notice is in effect for Fort Myers – for those people who still have running water, that is.
Other instructions were as follows: “Do not go out today. We have a stay-at- home curfew in effect. We are HOPING to not provide citations, BUT there are many vehicles on the roads and they are PREVENTING US from reaching the areas that need to be cleared.”
Lawing does have some experience dealing with hurricanes. Before he took the job as Guilford County manager, he was the county manager for the coastal county of Brunswick County, North Carolina for a decade.