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City Council in favor of increasing city manager’s purchase power

By Staff | Apr 25, 2011

Cape Coral City Council agreed Monday that raising City Manager Gary King’s purchase power by $50,000 to make repairs to city-owned fire equipment was a good move, especially in light of the discovery that at least four pieces of equipment were in various states of disrepair.
Lee County Fleet Maintenance division repaired the equipment recently at a cost of about $10,000, according to a report released two weeks ago.
The same report stated there were at least 18 other vehicles that needed to be inspected and possibly repaired.
The city manager’s spending capacity without council approval is $50,000, according to the city charter. If approved by vote next week, King would have $100,000 to make the needed repairs through Lee County’s fleet maintenance division.
King said Lee County staff had the needed certification to work on the equipment and the city does not, although two city employees were going to get the training beginning in May.
“We do not have any certified emergency vehicle technicians on our staff … we have to leave the city, it’s that simple,” King said.
Cape Coral Fire Department Chief Bill Van Helden said it was his idea to reach out to Lee County Fleet Maintenance once the situation was discovered.
Van Helden added that it is important to get as much life out of the fire vehicles as possible.
“We all have the responsibility to look at this,” Van Helden added.
Councilmember Bill Deile said there seemed to be a disconnect between the fire department and the city’s fleet maintenance department.
“When you look at the deficiencies … these are things that normally a mechanic would find during some diagnostic studies and preventative maintenance,” Deile said. “There seems to be a host of things the operator of the vehicle should be reporting.”
King said he never once blamed past administrations for the state of the vehicles, he simply wants to take care of the problem.
“I never mentioned past administrations, I never pointed fingers. I just said we have some issues that need to be resolved,” King said.
City Council will vote on the issue next Monday during its regular meeting.