Council expands city manager list to 17
Cape Coral City Council has set the field of potential city managers at 17, adding five names to the original 12 deemed “best qualified” by staff for the job.
In addition to the original 12, council also added Deborah A. Edgerly, Nancy Carolan and Mark Lauzier from the “better qualified” list; Peter Sands from the “qualified” list; and Tom Leipold, who was not qualified at all for the job by the advertised minimal qualification standards.
All 17 candidates will now receive a list of essay questions written by council, as part of the next phase of the hiring process.
Councilmember Pete Brandt pushed hard to include Leipold, who was deemed ineligible by Human Resources staff based on the prior qualifications, which included a master’s degree in one of several fields.
It was recently discovered that Leipold received his masters degree from a discredited university.
Brandt said he never fully agreed with the advertised minimal qualifications, and thinks Leipold deserves a place among the qualified candidates.
Brandt added that he viewed Leipold as one of the top qualified candidates for the job.
“I do not agree with the arbitrary list of minimal qualifications,” Brandt said. “I think the overwhelming experience of the individual I’m talking about gives him the right to move anywhere in the list we choose.”
The addition of a candidate deemed unqualified by city staff found little support on the dais, though a vote was not required to include Leipold among those to receive essay questions.
Councilmember Chris Chulakes-Leetz said he did not want to open the city up to potential litigation because of Leipold’s inclusion.
“I don’t want to end up in a lawsuit that’s completely unnecessary,” Chulakes-Leetz said.
Though the ranking “bands” by city staff did not indicate, numerically, which candidate had more potential in the “best,”“better” and “qualified,” Leipold was not included in those lists at all.
“To expand to the ineligible does not make any sense to me,” Councilmember Kevin McGrail said.