City manager Terry Stewart resigned Monday, giving his notice to the outgoing council and taking nothing with him save the severance called for by his unexpired contract.
It was a class decision - and classic Terry Stewart.
Mr. Stewart followed a two-fold self-directive during his eight-year tenure as Cape Coral's top administrator: He did what he thought was right for the city, and he followed council's direction, even when he disagreed.
These personal parameters were his strength - and his downfall, especially in an election year fraught with pandemic unhappiness with everything status quo.
Like him, hate him, assign him halo or horns, most will agree Mr. Stewart accomplished much for our city, steering it through its period of greatest growth and largest projects, holding hard to the helm when the economy capsized.
We thank him for this and for his unwavering professionalism. We also thank him for his last official act, tendered because he thought it best for the city and best for a new council starting afresh.
Character is not defined by how a person behaves when conditions are optimal and life is good.
It's easy to take the high road when the path is paved, and obstacles few or non-existent.
Character is defined by decisions made under pressure, when that road is potted with land mines and the way obscured.
With his no-more-than-was-contracted resignation, Terry Stewart confirmed he will travel the high road no matter the personal cost. With his gentlemanly no-criticism farewell, he pointed this city in the direction it needs to go.
We wish Mr. Stewart well, and we wish him success.
Lucky will be the next community that recognizes not only his talent, but that tough times call for tough and competent administrative leadership of the highest standard.
- Breeze editorial