Focused on "moving forward"

Port St. Joe commissioners attempted to put a bruising week in the rearview mirror Tuesday night before an audience nearly as large as that for last Friday’s special meeting.

At that Friday meeting, three commissioners were poised to terminate city manager Jim Anderson, but round two was not in the offing as the same three walked back their initial inclinations.

Commissioner Brett Lowry began by reading a statement thanking citizens for their engagement last week, saying that he took “each and every issue seriously.”

He said he had extensive conversations with Anderson after Friday’s meeting and spent the weekend pondering the situation.

“I will not be in favor of terminating Mr. Anderson’s contract and will not be in favor of a public hearing (on allegations),” he concluded.

He said he and Anderson had found common ground to move forward and he was focused on “moving the city forward.”

Commissioner Eric Langston followed, reiterating his commitment to the “deprived” neighborhood of North Port St. Joe and working with Anderson toward achieving goals for the area.

“It means a lot to hear a voice for all of Port St. Joe, but also for North Port St. Joe,” Langston said of last week’s meeting. “We have to be motivated (to make things happen).

“If we work together we will have that motivation.”

Mayor Bo Patterson said personal issues between he and Anderson had not be handled correctly and he never wanted Anderson to lose his job.

“We need to move past this and move ahead,” Patterson said.

Some residents remained skeptical.

Johnny Linton said while he appreciated the commissioners move away from termination, he wondered if it would have happened without the citizen turnout for Friday’s meeting.

One resident also suggested a recall of Patterson and resident Steve Womack, citing what he said was another failure of leadership, urged, for the second time in six months, Patterson to resign.

For his part, Anderson thanked Lowry and Langston for discussions subsequent to Friday’s meeting.

“We are all going to work together … so we can do the will of the people,” Anderson said.

Late in the meeting, Commissioner Rex Buzzett noted he had just two meetings on the Commission left in his tenure and urged an end to attacks, personal and otherwise.

“The attacks on commissioners, the attacks in each other, are not helping anything,” Buzzett said. “You want to come up and bash, we have to get past that.”


10th Street ball park

Buzzett provided an amended conceptual site plan for improvements at the 10th Street ball parks, asking commissioners to review it and come back at the next meeting for a vote.

The goal, Buzzett said, was city approval of the plan before it is presented to a county committee examining using fifth-penny Tourist Development dollars on improvements to the complex.

An initial conceptual plan was heavily criticized by citizens living adjacent to the park complex.

The new plan will be posted in the city’s website for citizen review prior to the Commission’s vote.