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Special council meeting called

By Staff | Dec 18, 2010

Cape Coral City Council will have a special meeting on Dec. 23 to discuss three items.
Council will discuss, and decide in some manner, on the following: a salary adjustment for Mayor John Sullivan’s legislative executive; the police officer college credit overpayment issue; and a proposed, mediated settlement for a lawsuit related to utility assessments.
The meeting comes just over a week from the start of City Council’s winter hiatus, causing some to question the need for the session.
Councilmember Chris Chulakes-Leetz said he “respectfully” disagrees with the need to have a special meeting to address the three issues listed.
“Unless there’s an emergency situation (there’s no reason to meet), and I don’t see those three topics constituting an emergency,” he said.
Chulakes-Leetz also said that he felt he didn’t have enough information to make a decision of give direction regarding the police officer overpayment/repayment issue.
“I’ve only been briefed verbally, I have not been privileged to a records review,” he added.
Chulakes-Leetz also worried that many staff members, or council members themselves, might not be available because of the proximity to Christmas.
“I will attend, but I object to having it unless it’s an emergency,” Chulakes-Leetz said.
Councilmember Derrick Donnell said he “had no strong feelings one way or the other” as to whether the issues were important enough to call a special meeting, but said they were issues that had to be dealt with, regardless. Donnell said he would look toward the other end of the dais for an opinion on how to handle the police officer situation.
“I look forward to hearing from the city attorney, to see what options there are,” Donnell said.
City spokeswoman Connie Barron said council can provide direction to the city manager, or acting city manager, regarding the police officers, who have been asked to pay back money the city says they did not earn because they did not obtain the college credits for which they received salary adjustments, but cannot make a decision themselves.
Councilmember Marty McClain, too, did not see the need for the meeting, especially two days before Christmas.
“Not one of these issues are urgent enough to warrant a special meeting …. I don’t think we should discuss the police officers at all,” McClain said, adding that any decision regarding the police officers will be an administrative one, and not in the council’s purview.
The meeting has been scheduled for Dec. 23 at 5 p.m., in council chambers.