homepage logo

Council set to fill District 1 vacancy Dec. 15

By Staff | Dec 6, 2008

The Cape Coral City Council is set to choose from nine applicants for the vacant District 1 seat at its meeting Dec. 15.
A former councilmember who held the post for nine years and a city plans examiner are among the ranks of the applicants, but more attention is likely to be paid to the council’s selection process than whomever is eventually selected.
The vacancy was created when the council voted to appoint then-District 1 Councilmember Jim Burch to the mayor’s seat on Nov. 17. Burch has said the appointment process went smoothly and described it as “parliamentary”, but not everyone agreed with that assessment.
“I would describe it as a parliamentary coup rather than a parliamentary process,” Councilmember Bill Deile said.
Burch beat out 23 other people, including Deile and Councilmember Dolores Bertolini, to the appointment, but the process raised some controversy.
Critics of the process say the council voted to use plurality to appoint the mayor, then called for a majority for the final vote.
At one point in the process, Councilmember Bill Deile had three votes, while Burch and Councilmember Dolores Bertolini each had two votes.
Under plurality, a confirmation vote of Deile would have been called. Instead a runoff vote between Burch and Bertolini was called. Burch won that vote and the runoff against Deile by a 4-3 margin each time.
Burch said he would like to see a similar nomination and voting process for the District 1 appointment, but is open to suggestions.
“As far as I’m concerned that would be a preferable way to do it. But hey, I’m willing to listen to anybody,” he said.
Deile and Burch do agree that a methodology for selecting the new councilmember must be put in place before the selection is made.
Deile said the issue may come up as early as Monday during the council’s regular meeting, but Burch maintains the methodology could be decided Dec. 15, the day of the vote.
Consistency is the key, Deile said.
“My only concern is that we start and finish with the same procedure,” Deile said.
Former Councilmember Gloria Tate, who served in the District 1 seat from 1996 to 2005, and Bartholomew Mazzara, a city plans examiner, join Phil Boller, Richard Greer, Bernard Keenan, Richard Kraft, Jim Martin, Linda Prince, and Helen Stallkamp as applicants for the vacant seat.