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Council calls special meeting to address King’s future

By Staff | Nov 30, 2011

A special meeting has been called for Friday to address Cape Coral City Manager Gary King’s future.

City Council was originally set to discuss King’s future during its workshop this Monday, taking two weeks to debate and then eventually vote on the matter.

But, the special meeting was called by Councilman Derrick Donnell because he said the health and peace of mind of the city needed to be addressed.

“I wanted to hear from council and I want to do what’s best for the city,” Donnell said. “Everyone talked about being positive and moving forward and that will not happen if we start with the (prolonged) process.”

King was the focus of a majority of council’s meeting this week, causing outbursts from both opponents and supporters.

Citizens read a laundry list of complaints during public comment against the city manager, ranging from his job performance to verbal battles with those who have critized him.

Councilman Kevin McGrail called for a 45-day suspension but withdrew the motion in favor of discussing it during a workshop.

Now that discussion may never take place as King could be ousted on Friday.

“The best thing to do would be offer the proper compensation package and wish him the best,” said Councilman Marty McClain.

McClain often locked horns with King, including, among other issues, his hiring by a majority vote of political supporters as city manager over other, more qualified individuals.

McClain said King has likely violated the terms of his contract often enough to warrant firing “with cause,” but thinks King’s departure should be a peaceful one.

“I believe there’s ‘for cause’ there, but I don’t see where that’s necessary,” he said. “The point has been made. Let’s move on.”

King declined comment on the meeting or his future with the city.

Councilman Chris Chulakes-Leetz said another engagement will keep him from the meeting, but added that the ouster of King, if that does happen on Friday, will complete a plan set in motion by the city’s unions and which kicked into gear on Nov. 8, when union-backed candidates beat the incumbents in the general election.

“This is what I consider the second to last step for a peaceful coup d’etat for the unions and special interest groups. This will be the first time we’ve seen this in the history of this city,” he said.

King could make as much as $66,000 as part of a severance package, should council decide to take that route.

King makes over $132,000 annually, plus benefits, according to his contract.

The meeting will be held at 4:30 p.m. Friday in council chambers at City Hall.