New Fort Myers city manager faces racism, discrimination accusations
FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Fort Myers city council approved the new city manager’s contract, but not before addressing accusations of racism and discrimination against the man picked for the job.
Members of the Lee County NAACP spoke about the claims during Wednesday’s special meeting. Community members said Marty Lawing has a history of racism and discrimination in his past jobs in North Carolina.
In Guilford County, Lawing was sued by a worker who claims she was wrongfully fired because of her race. Before that, he worked as county manager in Brunswick County — where he was named in another lawsuit.
“In fact, he fought to do harm to the Black community,” NAACP president James Muwakkil said. “By trying to put a toxic landfill in the heart of the African American community.”
Mayor Kevin Anderson claims he didn’t know about these allegations until after Lawing was picked in April to replace Saeed Kazemi. He’s not sure if those allegations should’ve been brought to them before the vote.
“What that can do is taint the process,” Anderson said. “Because just because somebody has made an allegation doesn’t mean you should be excluded from the process, and that very easily could happen.”
Community members said these claims make them less confident in his ability to serve all of Fort Myers.
“We want to be heard, we want our voices to be heard,” Jacquelyn McMiller said. “And we want our voices to be considered.”
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