Cape Coral City Council approves seven residents for new Budget Review Committee
Budget Review Committee replaces disbanded Financial Advisory Committee
Cape Coral City Council approved seven members for the new Budget Review Committee (BRC) at their final meeting before the summer hiatus.
The city council has been in search for members to fill the committee since deciding to bring the committee back a few months ago.
The BRC was brought back after it was decided to disband the Financial Advisory Committee (FAC) at the same March 13, 2012 meeting.
The proposed disbandment of the FAC proved to be a controversial move that created quite a debate amongst council members at the time of the decision.
Cape Coral District 1 Council Member Marty McClain announced in February that he intended to call for the disbandment of the FAC. The call for disbandment was in response to a presentation on the state of city pension plans by then FAC Chairman Don McKiernan.
During his presentation, McKiernan stated the city could be on the verge of bankruptcy if the city did not move forward with changes in the current city pension plan structure.
For McClain, it was another “gloom and doom” perspective from a committee he felt gained an inflated sense of self entitlement and was more interested in personal agendas than providing sound advice to the city council.
On March 13, the majority of the city council agreed with McClain, and in a 5-3 vote, decided to disband the FAC in favor of bringing back the Budget Review Committee. It was a move that Mayor John Sullivan felt was a poor choice for the city, “The amount of talent and financial experience on this committee will be hard to replace. Dissolving this committee is not in the best interest of the city,” said Sullivan at the time of the decision.
Since that vote in March, the city has been accepting applications from residents in hopes of quickly filling the new committee, due to the upcoming budget process for the 2012-2013 fiscal year.
At the final meeting before the summer hiatus, the city council approved seven new members for the Budget Review Committee. The citizens that were selected for the Budget Review Committee are:
- Russel Bell
- Lyndia Bradley
- Joe Coviello
- Vincent Cummings
- Joe Kibitlewski
- Gary Vandenberg
- Harvey Wolfson
While the new members were in the process of being approved, the bitterness of the disbanding of the Financial Advisory Committee still loomed for some as council member Chris Chulakes-Leetz had a strong warning for the incoming members of the Budget Review Committee, “If you tell us what we don’t want to hear you may be fired. If you tell us the truth, you may be fired.”
Chulakes-Leetz’s comments drew strong criticism from fellow council member Rana Erbrick, “I do not believe the same thing will happen with this committee as it did with the FAC. Those remarks were uncalled for.”
Following Erbrick’s comments, the council voted 7-1, with Chulakes-Leetz being the dissenting vote, to approve the new committee. The city council also unanimously voted council member Lenny Nesta to be the council’s liaison to the Budget Review Committee.