Why new Jupiter town manager will be such a key hire in that community


Applicants can apply for Jupiter position until Aug. 27

New Jupiter manager will supervise about 380 employees

A visionary, a proponent of historical preservation and an inspirational leader. That’s what residents and Jupiter officials want in the new town manager to replace Andy Lukasik.

Jupiter needs a manager “with bodacious ideas,” said land planner Don Hearing, a Jupiter native who is working with developer Charles Modica to develop Love Street and the former Suni Sands property.

“Right now the council members are all rowing. But they are going nowhere. We need a manager with a vision to get them rowing in the same direction,” Hearing said.

And how important is the position in Jupiter?

The Jupiter council on May 10 agreed to pay $18,500 to Keller, Texas-based SGR Strategic Government Resources to find applicants. Additional expenses are not to exceed $8,500, according to the agreement.

Lukasik, 47, who was paid about $180,000 annually, left March 18 to be village manager in North Palm Beach. Lukasik had been in the Jupiter position since 2004.

Harbourside Place developer Nick Mastroianni said he welcomed the leadership change. Harbourside has sued the town, saying the town’s regulations on sound limitations at Harbourside’s outdoor amphitheater are unconstitutional.

“The town of Jupiter needs change. … The departure of the town manager is a sign of the growth that Jupiter has experienced due to the development of our town center, Harbourside,” Mastroianni said via e-mail.

Heidi Epstein, who ran unsuccessfully for the council in March, said residents need a manager to put the brakes on development.

“The people in Jupiter are not being heard. Residents want development to slow down,” Epstein said.

The new manager must balance development and Jupiter’s “small-town feel,” said Jim Taube, the owner of Jetty’s and u-Tiki restaurants on the Jupiter Inlet.

“We don’t want to be Fort Lauderdale. But we need commercial, condos and retail,” said Taube.

Whether to spend up to $36 million for a new town hall/police complex, reducing traffic on Indiantown Road and how to handle waterfront development are some of the main issues for the new town manager. He or she will be in charge of a $90 million annual budget with about 380 employees.

The new manager must have “strong interpersonal skills and be tolerant of citizen complaints,” said Carol Watson, who lost a town council bid in March.

Promoting historic preservation and ecotourism is key, said Jamie Stuve, president and CEO of the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum.

The new manager should encourage partnering with outside agencies, said Stuve. The Lighthouse Museum has had success promoting historical and environmental programs with organizations such as the federal Bureau of Land Management and The Florida Lighthouse Association, said Stuve.

“Nobody is coloring outside the lines. Creativity is lacking,” said Stuve.

Working with new businesses should be a priority for the new manager, said Vice Mayor Wayne Posner.

“I’m not saying we need to welcome every business. We want viable, sustainable businesses that will have quality results,” said Posner.

SGR began accepting applications starting July 27. The deadline to apply is on Aug. 27. The council will select the new manager from the applicants. No salary has been set. The five-member council has the power to hire and fire the manager.

The current Jupiter town manager is Lori Bonino, who was assistant town manager when Lukasik resigned. She was appointed in April. Bonino’s annual salary is about $150,000.

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