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Council member steps up as next mayor pro tem

By Staff | Nov 12, 2008

Cape Coral City Councilmember Derrick Donnell was named mayor pro tem Monday after an awkward vote. The mayor pro tem runs meetings in the absence of the acting mayor, and serves for a term of one year.

Every council member, besides Mayor Eric Feichthaler, was nominated for the post at one point, before some withdrew their name from contention.

That left Donnell and Councilmembers Eric Grill and Dolores Bertolini still in line for the job.

In the first vote, Donnell and Bertolini each received three votes, with Grill getting two. A runoff vote ended in a 4-4 tie, but Bertolini quickly withdrew her name from consideration.

“I will do my job regardless of the seat I hold up here,” Bertolini said.

One of Donnell’s first duties as mayor pro tem is likely to be his hardest. He will run the meeting Monday in which council members will interview 27 applicants for the mayor’s seat, which is being vacated by Feichthaler.

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

Council members will convene at 1 p.m. Monday in council chambers sans Feichthaler to conduct the interviews. Applicants will be sequestered in a conference room and called randomly for the interviews.

In other news

* A $42 million budget amendment was approved Monday. The majority of the funds have already been sanctioned by council members, including the largest item, $28.5 million for the new police headquarters building.

A $79 million item for the Southwest 6/7 utilities project was left out of the amendment. Council members approved the work authorization for the project, but did not give their final sanction for work to begin.

* City staffers will submit a plan to spend $7 million in federal funds designed to help the city buy foreclosed houses and sell them to qualified buyers. The funds are part of the Housing Stabilization Act passed by Congress in July.

* Council members voted unanimously Monday to approve the construction of a new charter high school. McGarvey Construction won the contract to build the $7 million school that will house 700 students.