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As one commission forms, council ‘sunsets’ its charter review panel

By Staff | Jun 13, 2012

Saying the city’s Charter Review Commission had outlived its reason for being, Cape Coral City Councilmember Rana Erbrick proposed Monday that the panel be “sunsetted.”

Despite the protests of the mayor and a councilman, the elected board agreed, and the CRC was disbanded until its duties are again required.

This action came just an hour after the council approved the seven new members that will form the Budget Review Committee, which rose from the ashes of the Financial Advisory Committee disbanded in March.

Erbrick made the motion during the final segment of the meeting, the final one before council’s month-long hiatus.

“It’s not about the personalities involved or the issue of what they were talking about,” Erbrick said. “It’s simply that when you go through the process, it’s time to sunset you.”

The issue, other than the belief the commission had completed its task, was a quote from an unknown member of the commission, which was discussing single district elections, that it wanted to push the idea past council.

“I did not hear the tape. I just believe with these two commissions (the redistricting commission being the other) you need to be sunsetted,” Erbrick said. “The last commission was sunsetted April 12, 2010. It’s typical.”

The idea was not embraced by Mayor John Sullivan, who also was against the disbanding of the former FAC and thought such a motion might scare off those who might want to serve one day.

“I’d hate to think how the new committee coming in is thinking about when we do this,” Sullivan said. “This is another knee-jerk decision without thinking it out.”

Councilmember Chris Chulakes-Leetz agreed.

“This commission is made of citizens who worked hard. This behavior has become common place,” Chulakes-Leetz said.

They were in the minority view.

“I have no problem with disbanding them. The comments they made were agenda driven,” Councilmember Marty McClain said.

“These committee members were geared for the former council,” Councilmember Kevin McGrail said. “You sunset these so you don’t have the former council having sway over committees for years.”

The motion to dissolve the review commission passed 6-2, with Sullivan and Leetz against.

The CRC is tasked with deciding which parts of the charter need to be considered for revision. It is given a six-year term, though its usefulness usually runs out well before then.

The previous commission was disbanded on April 12, 2010 and the new one pressed into service that December.

Earlier Monday, the city council approved the seven members which will comprise the new budget commission without much debate.

They were all approved by a 7-1 vote, with Chulakes-Leetz casting the lone negative vote.