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Financial Advisory Committee chair quits unexpectedly

By Staff | Apr 14, 2009

The chairman of Cape Coral’s Financial Advisory Committee resigned Monday in apparent frustration over the city’s financial decisions.
Michael Foye’s resignation came as a surprise to council members.
“(Foye) stepped out front and said … ‘The staff is fiscally reckless and the council is fiscally irresponsible and I officially resign,'” Councilmember Pete Brandt said, adding that he tried to portray Foye’s statements verbatim.
Foye, who served on the advisory committee and others like it for the past 10 years, was unavailable for comment Monday.
Councilmember Dolores Bertolini, who attended the FAC meeting Monday, said she was shocked by the move.
“I served with Mr. Foye on different committees for a number of years. I too was rather stunned and disappointed with the manner in which he chose to resign, but that was his choice,” she said.
Foye and the FAC recommended $44.7 million in budget cuts last year that were not adopted by the city because much of the cuts were in the form of reductions in wages and benefits to city workers that could not be altered because of union contracts.
“I know he was disturbed last year when we didn’t address some of the FAC recommendations,” Bertolini said.
Combined with the recent departure of another FAC member, Gloria Baron, for the east coast, the city now faces the prospect of replacing two members of the seven-member FAC ahead of a critical budget process.
Brandt would like to see them replaced quickly.
Bertolini, citing an interview process that would take a minimum of 30 days and the committee’s need for a quorum of four for an official meeting, suggested that the FAC be dissolved.
“I suggest that we do that (replace Foye and Baron) as rapidly as we possibly can,” he said.
“I really think at this point with two members missing … it may be time to think about not having a FAC,” she said.
“It’s not my choice, I do think citizens should be involved,” Bertolini added.
Councilmember Bill Deile, who previously served on the Budget Review Committee, a precursor to the FAC, for two years before being elected to council, said he understands Foye’s frustration.
“When I was in the Budget Review Committee you did all this work and then council didn’t act on it,” he said.
Deile added that his position on the dais adds a different perspective.
The FAC’s questions to city staffers allow them to be more prepared for discussions in front of council members.
“As a council member I like (staff’s) groundwork,” Deile said.