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Bid to Censure civic association president fails

October 25, 2017
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

A bid to censure North Fort Myers Civic Association president Michael Land failed Thursday night.

Land,who has been one of the driving forces of the organization for more than seven years, came under fire in July after he suggest that North Fort Myers might be due for a name change.

The motion to censure was defeated 6-5 in a heated meeting that ultimately included the resignation of a director.

Land said after the meeting he only wanted to go home and look after his sick wife.

He added, though, he has no regrets for putting the idea of renaming North Fort Myers on the table and it something in which he still believes.

"I'm glad I didn't say a lot of what I prepared. I was sure I gauged the count and felt there was no need to. I don't regret making the proposal in my column or having put it on the agenda," Land said. "A proposal is just that, and that's how it gets on the agenda for the board to decide."

Doug Dailey, who along with fellow new director Danny Ballard brought up the censure motion, said Land did not follow the by-laws or the written dos and don'ts of the organization, has been publicly demanding and demeaning and made comments detrimental to the organization.

Land presented a "personal opinion" to the media regarding his approval of a name change for North Fort Myers which was not approved or even reviewed by members of the civic association, and which were considered to cast a negative light on the community, he added.

"(This) brought the organization unnecessary embarrassment and made the organization appear in an unflattering or disorganized manner," Dailey said in his presentation.

"Land stated 'the name North Fort Myers evokes no sense of beauty nor place where you want to be, live, work, do business or play, nor a passion or desire. It only tells you it is a place north of Fort Myers,"' Dailey continued. "These quotes do not promote community pride, especially coming from its leader."

Land remained quiet during the motion, but passed out a lengthy list of his accomplishments during his time in the civic association in his defense.

Holly Marth, the director who later resigned after being interrupted by, and then called out of order, by Land while questioning the validity of a vote, praised Land for his accomplishments of the past, but drew the line with him for the future.

"He's done a lot for our organization. The old-timers feel loyal to him because of what he has done and contributed to our community," Marth said. "As for the future, I don't agree wholly."

Things got fiery when Larry Murphy also defended Land, saying he had the courage to stand up at that July 11 meeting and not shut it down, calling the whole thing a "Kangaroo Court."

Even Andy Rossman, who has butted heads with Land, took his side this go-around, saying new members came in during a volatile meeting.

"Before they had attended their first meeting as director, they were making a motion to get rid of Mike. I think Mike overstepped his bounds, but I think we could have settled it among ourselves," Rossman said. "I don't think we need to be here."

Dailey said he has been to civic association meetings, had friends on the board who left and seen the discontent in spite of Land's accomplishments.

"Is this for two new members to come in to change the organization? Yes, and I stand by that," Dailey said. "What I have seen in the nature of this board, is not working like it should. People can do a thousand things right, but they'll be remembered for one big wrong."

Dailey said even though the motion failed, it was the democratic process and had no regrets.

"This time it came up short, but there's a next time. We are going to take this and build on it," Dailey said. "Our voice has been heard and time will take care of everything. You win some and you lose some."

Land's term as president ends in February and he has indicated he will not seek another term.



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