You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Hawes affair reaching its end

Manager will meet with Mann on Monday; commissioner expects to hear her exit plans.

Oct. 19, 2012


Commissioner Frank Mann said he expects Lee County’s top executive will present him with her resignation plans at a meeting she has called for Monday morning.

County Manager Karen Hawes scheduled the get-together on the eve of a commission vote to terminate her.

Mann had planned to hold that vote earlier this week, but Hawes persuaded him to push it back while she discussed resigning with her attorney and family.

“We left the ball in her court and there’s been time for her to meet with her family and attorney and think this through,” Mann said. “I think we’re about to wind this up in the best interests of everybody.”

Hawes did not return calls for comment Friday.

According to her contract, Hawes, 60, will receive a year of severance pay, $170,000, and one year of health insurance for resigning at the commission’s request.

If she were fired for cause — reasons that include insubordination, incompetence and failure to maintain the public’s confidence — she would not receive the pay, according to her 2009 contract.

Mann said he prefers the resignation, because Hawes was an excellent employee for the 25 years before she was promoted to county manager in 2009.

Hawes’ handling of Medstar spurred Mann’s call for her departure.

The county’s medical flight program was suspended in August after Hawes was privately told it had failed to meet federal safety mandates for nearly a year.

Her subordinates, however, publicly claimed the emergency helicopters were grounded to seek voluntary certification and denied there were other problems in the program.

County officials only admitted to the safety failures — and the federal rules they violated by billing for $3.3 million in medical flights — after The News-Press presented them with proof that they happened.

Former public safety director John Wilson and his second in command, Kim Dickerson, also left the county under scrutiny for the roles they played in the program’s shutdown.

Commissioner Brian Bigelow said Medstar highlighted mismanagement that dates back to Hawes’ hiring, when commissioners decided to disregard a list of qualified candidates they paid a headhunter to compile and hired Hawes instead.

“We got we got, because we did what we did, which was wholly inappropriate and a disservice to the public,” Bigelow said. “It put someone in place who was not competent, whether judging by her resume or her track record.”

Local Deals

Flip, shop and save on specials from your favorite retailers on Marco Island


Marco beach cam


Find local restaurants, read
and submit reviews

Celebrating the best of South Lee and North Naples


Reader Photos

Get the Hurricane Hub app

Sign up to save 50-90% off SWFL dining, shopping, spas, activities and more. Every day.