homepage logo

Issues raised in discussions over replacing mayor; Vacates seat Nov. 18

By Staff | Sep 11, 2008

During an election year there is always doubt about who will take over leadership positions at the federal, state and local levels, but there is even greater confusion this year over the future of the Cape Coral mayor position.

The current mayor, Eric Feichthaler, resigned earlier this year in order to run for the District 1 County Commission seat. He narrowly lost the Republican primary last month to incumbent Bob Janes.

Although the resignation is effective Nov. 18, the city council can choose to reappoint Feichthaler as mayor until his term expires in November 2009.

Two council members, Tim Day and Derrick Donnell, said they want to keep Feichthaler as mayor to maintain the continuity of the council.

“We would flow more smoothly if we just left him here,” Day said at the council’s meeting Monday. “I would like to afford him the opportunity to fill out his term.”

In previous statements, Feichthaler has said he would not accept reappointment, and he reiterated those sentiments Monday.

“I don’t think it’s fair to the people for all the certainty I tried to give,” he said.

If Feichthaler is not reappointed, the council may choose to hold a special election or appoint someone to the post. Council members may also opt to appoint someone from the dais to the mayor’s chair, but that would leave another seat for the council to fill by appointment or special election.

Beyond the question of who will fill the seat is the question of how the council will make its selection.

Although Feichthaler would prefer to have a special election, he released a memo to council members last week outlining his plan for the selection process. His proposal calls for a standard application form and a written statement of 1,000 words or less explaining why the applicant wants to be mayor, outlining their qualifications and stating whether they intend to run for a full term as mayor in November 2009.

In his memo, Feichthaler also states he will participate in the selection process unless otherwise instructed by council. At least one council member is against his involvement.

“He shouldn’t be party to the selection,” Councilmember Pete Brandt said. “It just seems to be the best way to make a clean break.”

Brandt issued his own memo to his fellow council members Tuesday regarding his plan for the selection process. He is against a special election but calls for a standard application form along with “whatever additional information an applicant deems appropriate,” instead of an essay as in Feichthaler’s plan.

The council is slated to discuss the selection process Sept. 22.