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City taking applications to fill council vacancy

By Staff | Sep 24, 2019

In the wake of the unexpected resignation of District 5 council member David Stokes on Monday, the city of Cape Coral is accepting applications to fill the vacancy.

Cape Coral City Council members went over the protocol they will use to find his successor, which they hope to have within 30 days.

Applications are currently being accepted by the Cape Coral City Clerk’s Department with Council to appoint a qualified candidate to serve until the next municipal election in 2020.

The deadline to receive applications is Friday, Oct. 11, at 3 p.m.

From there, the City Council will cull the pile for the best applicants and conduct interviews before making their final decision on Oct. 21, officials said.

Mayor Joe Coviello said he personally will look for someone who is engaged in the city and who has served on one of the city’s various committees.

“He needs a sense of where we’re at, what’s going on and someone who can make the tough decisions. It’s a tough job,” said Coviello, who added if they don’t like the candidates, Council could opt for a special election, instead of an appointment.

According to the City Clerk’s De-partment ap-plicants must:

* Reside in District 5

* Be a registered voter An applicant for City Council District 5 temporary appointment must be a registered elector of the city.

* Be a permanent resident An applicant for City Council District 5 temporary appointment must be a permanent resident of the City.

* Fill the residence requirement Applicants who have been continuous full-time residents of the City for the entire calendar year immediately preceding their qualification for office shall be eligible.

* A Statement of Financial interest is required.

Cape Coral City Elections are non-partisan, meaning the candidate need not declare a political party.

What people most want, is someone who can get the job done, Coviello said.

“I learned very early that people don’t care if you’re Republican or Democrat. They just want to know if you’re going to fix the pothole in front of their house,” he said.

Stokes, who previously said he would not seek re-election as he plans to move out of the area to spend time with family, announced his immediate resignation via email Monday morning, saying it would allow Council to begin the appointment process and finish before its winter break.

He said he will miss the Cape but is confident there are qualified individuals who are willing to serve.

“In the 17 years we have lived in Cape Coral we raised our children in this safe and wonderful city that we came to love we made great friends we will miss. I will miss the residents, business owners and great employees that have made Cape Coral the fantastic city that it is. I am certain that in our City of 193,000 residents there will be many great citizens that will step forward to be considered for appointment to District 5,” he wrote, adding “God Bless.”

His fellow board members said they accept his decision and wish him well.

“It’s tough to lose our teammate and it’s tough that there was no notification beforehand because it was so abrupt we were concerned about him,” Councilmember Jennifer Nelson said. “He wanted to be with his family and I can’t fault him for that. Family comes first.”

Councilmember Jessica Cosden took a similar view.

“It caught me by surprise. I’ll miss him. It was good working with him. I wish him the best and I know family comes first,” she said.

Coviello said losing Stokes will be tough because he brought a certain expertise to the table, that of being a paramedic.

“Working in Charlotte County, he was always our go-to guy with anything that had to do with the fire department, like John Carioscia was a former police officer,” Coviello said. “If we had issues with the fire department, we could tap into him to help make decisions.”

Applications for consideration of appointment to the District 5 Council seat may be found at www.capecoral.net/department/clerk/city_elections.php