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Selection process taking shape for the next mayor

By Staff | Nov 10, 2008

Today’s election may settle the presidential battle between Barack Obama and John McCain, but there is one question it will not answer — who is the next mayor of Cape Coral?

The 28 applicants for the soon-to-be-vacant seat will each get three minutes to make their case to city council members during the Nov. 17 selection process.

Council members voted Monday to adopt the parameters surrounding the process of replacing Mayor Eric Feichthaler, who will resign Nov. 17 before the process begins.

Applicants, chosen randomly, will have an opportunity to inform council members as to their qualifications for leading the dais. Council members will then have the option to ask questions of the applicant.

All other candidates will wait in a sequestered room so as not to gain an unfair advantage. All candidates, that is, except for the three council members vying for the mayor’s seat.

Councilmembers Bill Deile, Dolores Bertolini and Jim Burch said they would not ask any questions of their fellow council members.

“I have no reason to ask Mrs. Bertolini or Mr. Deile any questions,” Burch said.

“I don’t envision myself asking any of the other council members any questions. I know where they stand on most issues,” Deile said.

Burch and Bertolini have said they will likely vote for themselves.

After the interviews are conducted, council members will pare the group down to five possible candidates and have another round of questioning before selecting a mayor.

Councilmember Tim Day said the rules adopted by council members are not set in stone. He said they could continue the meeting to the next week after reducing the field to five applicants.

“The council makes the rules, the council can change the rules. I don’t want someone to vote because they’re tired. We really need to know who we’re going to put in that spot,” Day said.

Feichthaler has pledged not to take part in selecting his replacement and left the dais while the subject was under discussion.

He announced his resignation this summer in order to run for the District 1 Lee County Commission seat. He was edged out in the Republican primary by incumbent Bob Janes.