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Debate continues on ‘best’ process for hiring city manager

By Staff | Jan 12, 2010

The Cape Coarl City Council inched closer to hiring a permanent replacement for the city manager position on Monday night but ha still not made any major decisions.
Not yet having committed to using an outside search firm or its own human resources department, the council was presented with an advertisement for the position, compiled of its own hopes for the future city manager.
Those efforts could be in vain, however, if council chooses to adopt District 6 Councilmember Kevin McGrail’s suggestion of giving Interim City Manager Carl Schwing a contractual one-year trial run.
McGrail said with the possible upcoming land use changes, Schwing has a lot of work cut out for himself and his staff.
“The interim city manager has tremendous responsibilities without the title or the authority,” McGrail said. “I’d hate to spend the money to come up with Carl Schwing.”
It’s estimated to cost between $25,000 – $30,000 to hire a private firm to conduct a national search.
Whether or not a traditional city manager, or a so-called “change agent” is needed, is also a point of contention, although District 2 Councilmember Pete Brandt thinks Cape Coral’s next city manager already lives here.
“I still believe we have enough talent close to home,” Brandt said.
District 7 Councilmember Derrick Donnell said he would support McGrail’s suggestion, but would also support a national search knowing the efforts might be in vain.
“I am on board with a national search knowing that we might end up with Carl Schwing,” he said. “But I’m open to Council-member McGrail’s suggestion too.”

Stormwater issues
District 4 Councilmember Chris Chulakes-Leetz wants to pursue a citizen’s advisory committee to deal with stormwater issues, but ran into a few speed bumps from the dais.
While most of council agreed that investigating properties with full and partial stormwater exemptions was a good idea, some thought Chulakes-Leetz’ ideas needed to be more finely tuned.
“I’m not in favor of governing by committee,” said District 5 Council-member Eric Grill. “City staff has already looked at all the properties we want them to.”
It was unclear how much money the city could recoup from storm water investigations. Its estimated that between 1,700 – 1,800 properties within the city are getting full or partial exemptions.
According to Public Works Director Chuck Pavlos, property owners are required to submit updates of their developed properties to retain their exemptions, but previously admitted that staff rarely, if ever, conducts random, on the spot inspections.
Chulakes-Leetz was happy that his suggestion garnered a lively discussion.
District 1 Councilmember Marty McClain said he liked the idea, but it needed to be approached cautiously.
“There’s a good idea here, but we need to be careful putting together committees,” he said.