Council members take oath of office Monday night
Four members took the oath of office Monday night to serve four-year terms on the Cape Coral City Council. Two of the four are incumbents who will stay on council for four more years of service to the city.
For the second consecutive municipal election cycle, the city made history as voters last week elected two women bringing the total to four on council now serving along side four men.
“I love that,” said newly sworn District 7 Councilmember Jessica Cosden. “It’s 2015 and that is my thought on that.”
Cosden replaces Dr. Derrick Donnell, who served two terms and was not eligible to run again due to term limits.
Marilyn Stout, who served on council in the early 1990s, was elected to take the District 3 seat held by Lenny Nesta, who served four years and chose not to run for reelection.
“I was not planning to run,” said Stout. “Then I saw the serious issues facing the city and the direction the city is going and wanted to be part of it. It’s an exciting time and I’m happy to be here and thank the voters very much.”
Voters also made history in 2013 by electing Marni Sawicki as the city’s first female mayor.
Both Stout and Cosden said one of their top priorities on council is the city’s franchise agreement with electric utility LCEC.
“No. 1 for me is to see that a fair and equitable contract is negotiated with LCEC,” said Cosden.
“Nothing is more important for the city than the LCEC contract,” said Stout.
District 2 Councilmember John Carioscia was sworn in for a second four-year term Monday night after winning reelection by almost 1,000 votes.
District 5 Councilmember Rana Erbrick likewise was sworn to a second term, though she was unopposed in this year’s election and therefore earned automatic reelection.
Since the 2013 election, council members have represented a wide range of generations. That trend continues with the new council makeup with ages spanning six decades from 20-something on up.
Stout and Jim Burch are the only members serving on council a second time after several years outside public office. Burch was appointed mayor in 2009 to fill the remaining term for Eric Feichthaler, who stepped aside to run for a seat on the Lee County Commission.
With all new members settling into their seats, council went about its regular business, including appointing Councilmember Rick Williams as mayor pro tem. Council appoints a mayor pro tem once a year to assume the duties of mayor when the mayor is not available. The title of council office manager accompanies the pro tem appointment.
Council also appointed its members to city and county boards, commissions and committees with several vacancies created by Nesta and Donnell leaving.
Cosden threw her hat into the ring to take all of Donnell’s assignments if council wished and wound up with three positions. She will represent council on the Charter School Governing Board, the Community Development Block Grant Committee and the Employee Innovation Committee.
Stout will represent council on the Budget Review Committee, the Transpor-tation Advisory Committee and the Metropolitan Planning Organization.
Councilmember Richard Leon picked up a seat on the Selection Advisory Committee held by Nesta and the Lee County Human Services Council replacing Donnell.
Council also voted unanimously for the resolution certifying the election results, including approval of five of the seven City Charter amendments on the ballot.
Council’s next regular meeting is next Monday, Nov. 16, at 4:30 p.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall.