Ever since former Beach Mayor Larry Kiker officially resigned on Oct. 5, 2012, to make a successful run at County Commission, the Fort Myers Beach Town Council has seen two Councilmen share the reins of being mayor -one in the interim role and one in an acting role.
When Kiker left office, Beach Vice Mayor Bob Raymond was promoted to mayor on an interim basis and Mandel was elected to vice mayor. In February, Raymond had to take a leave of absence due to a health issue that required surgery. He voluntarily stepped down from being mayor for a period of time, and Mandel was thrust into an acting mayor position and remained in that role until two days ago.
During a Council reorganization on Monday evening, Mandel shed his "acting" title when he was unanimously appointed to the Council's top spot during a reorganization Monday evening. Acting Vice mayor Joe Kosinski was unanimously appointed to vice mayor.
The reorganization, done so after every election, was no way any reflection on Raymond's capability when at full strength. Currently, he is recovering from surgery and has not been able to attend a Council meeting since he went into the hospital.
"Bob Raymond has a long road of recovery ahead of him," said Councilwoman Jo List. "Her has been a fantastic mayor. Everybody around the County loves him. Realistically, it would be so much better for our Town to have a mayor, not an acting mayor."
Mandel echoed List's sentiments. He recently visited Raymond at the hospital and reported that he had high spirits.
"I think we have to thank him for all the years (he has served the Town) -LPA, Town Council and as a very good mayor," said Mandel.
Town Manager Terry Stewart offered his congratulations to the appointees.
"I look forward to working with both of you and for Mr. Raymond to return to Council," he said.