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OK for council member to vote for self for mayor; Ethics commission delivers finding

By Staff | Oct 21, 2008

Although 28 people have applied to replace Cape Coral Mayor Eric Feichthaler when he leaves his post Nov. 17, three will be able to vote for themselves.

The Florida Commission on Ethics stated Monday that council members could vote for themselves for mayor without violating any ethical considerations.

Councilmember Jim Burch, who applied to replace Feichthaler along with Councilmembers Dolores Bertolini and Bill Deile, asked the city attorney’s office to send a request to the commission last month asking for a statement providing the ethical implications of voting for one’s self.

“We find that a voting conflict would not be created for (Burch) regarding a measure to appoint a person as Mayor, where he is one of the applicants, whether he or another receives the appointment,” the commission’s statement reads in part.

Burch and Bertolini both said they will vote for themselves when the issue comes up for a vote Nov. 17.

“Now that I have the ethics commission telling me I can vote for myself, I will vote for myself,” Bertolini said.

“If I don’t give myself a vote of confidence I don’t know how I can expect anybody else to,” Burch said.

Despite the commission’s finding, not everyone thinks they should take part in the replacement process.

“I don’t think they should (vote). That would be the decent thing to do,” said Lynn Rosko, who submitted an application to be mayor but later withdrew it.

“I accept the opinion of the commission, but if I were in that position I would not vote,” Feichthaler said.

Council members will conduct interviews with all valid applicants in council chambers at 1 p.m. Nov. 17, and appoint Feichthaler’s replacement afterward.

Feichthaler was forced to resign in order to run for the District 1 Lee County Commission post earlier this year. He narrowly lost to incumbent Bob Janes in the Republican primary.