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Mayoral candidate questioned about resignation timing

By Staff | May 16, 2017

In answer to queries made during public comment Monday night, Councilmember Rana Erbrick said she will resign from her position on the Cape Coral City Council in time for her successor to be determined by the voters – if she makes her mayoral bid final.

“Anything I say can and will be used against me by those on Facebook behind their keyboards,” Erbrick said. “Florida law states I must resign by June 23. My intended plan was to have the voters have the right to put someone in this seat, if I run for mayor. I would appreciate if we kept campaign issues out of these chambers.”

By law, Erbrick must resign her seat by June 23, 10 days before the July 3 start of election qualifying, if she plans to qualify.

The resignation issue was raised by two members of the public and has received some chatter on social media sites dedicated to city politics.

“Wouldn’t it be better for her to resign now so the citizens can elect their councilman rather than pay a large amount for a special election or be stuck with a council member not elected by the free will of the people?” said Jay LaGace, one of two citizens who asked why a resignation has not been forthcoming and a frequent commenter online.

Councilmember John Carioscia agreed with LaGace, saying Council could then put District 5 on the ballot in November.

“The resignation doesn’t vacate the seat. If she vacates, we’ll be able to put this on the ballot. We can do it if the seat is vacated by Sept. 8, but how do we get candidates to campaign,” Carioscia said.

Councilmember Jim Burch said he would prefer a special election rather than have to pick someone to serve, saying it should be the voters’ decision, not his.

In other business:

* Councilmember Jessica Cosden questioned why the city purchased 88 Panasonic Toughbooks at a cost of $222,000, an item that was on the consent agenda and that Cosden thought was a little expensive.

IT staffers explained that the computers are two pounds lighter, more durable and are able to do more from a technological standpoint than the old ones. The cases are made of magnesium to make them less susceptible to the elements.

That item, and the remainder of the consent agenda, passed unanimously.

* City Manager John Szerlag gave Recognition of Intergovernmental Cooperation awards to the Florida Governmental Utility Authority for the Reclaimed Water Interconnect Project and to the FDEP, FDOT, Southwest Florida Water Management District and South Florida Water Management District for their assistance in getting the city water from a Punta Gorda reservoir into the city’s canals for firefighting purposes.

* City Council also passed ordinances that approved a lease agreement between the city and the Cape Coral Charter School System and granted Charles DeBono his appeal, allowing him to have 17 trucks, vans and trailers at his business site under certain conditions.

* Council also approved Jeffery Slapper for the alternate position for the Planning and Zoning Commission.

* Housing Coordinator Amy Yearsley also discussed workforce housing and the symposium she and Jim Burch attended in Punta Gorda and the Housing Matters report regarding the housing market in Florida.