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City may ask governor for funds to deal with drywall issue

By Staff | Feb 2, 2010

Cape Coral City Council will probably reach out to Gov. Charlie Crist next week asking him to activate state emergency resources to aid homeowners dealing with toxic drywall.
District 4 Councilmember Chris Chulakes-Leetz said the problem was so widespread, not just in the Cape but throughout the country, that it would require state and federal help to try and combat the issue.
Chulakes-Leetz sponsored the resolution that would effectively do just that.
“This is not a resolution specific to Cape Coral,” he said. “This is an epidemic event that occurred and will affect the city for years to come, and the possibly the health of the people who were exposed for the rest of their lives.”
District 6 Councilmember Kevin McGrail echoed his fellow council member’s sentiments, saying the federal government has to get involved if the issue is to have any resolution.
“This has literally torn lives apart,” McGrail said.
Also, City Council could decide to pursue a labor negotiator, but the discussion once again turned to whether a local hire — possibly a retiree — or an outside firm would best fit the bill.
Council agreed a labor negotiator is a good idea, but didn’t know which route would prove best.
“We need to go to an outside firm, retain them and use them only as we need them,” said District 1 Councilmember Marty McClain. “An outside firm would be unbiased. They are not from here, and do not have any friends here.”
District 7 Councilmember Derrick Donnell thought a negotiator was a good idea, but the trick is getting someone who was qualified.
“Negotiation is a skill,” Donnell said.
In another item, council could decide next week to restart the citizen surveys, at a cost of roughly $10,000.
Mayor John Sullivan said the surveys are crucial to the process of restoring trust in city government and to know how citizens are feeling.
“It seems we need to use this as a report card … I feel we need to keep our finger on the pulse of the city,” Sullivan said.