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Time to move forward

June 12, 2010
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Cape Coral City Council did the expected Thursday and tapped Gary King as the board's first choice for the Cape's top administrative post.

This means, barring some embarrassing something uncovered during the background check or an off-the-wall contract demand, Mr. King will take over the Cape's administrative reins once council approves terms of hire.

Mr. Schwing, the current city manager given a one-year contract in March, will step back as assistant city manager as per that agreement.

We thank these top two, as we do the other applicants who came to the Cape for this fait accompli - at least the weather was good even if council would not spring for dinner or a hotel room for those who made the trek for their earmarked hour-long interview.

We also wish Mr. King every success; he has his work cut out for him.

The selection of a new city manager is not the end of a process but a beginning ripe with challenges and, in the Cape's case, rift with problems.

Among them?

- Preparing a budget in the face of another 16 percent decrease in property values and the resultant loss of a projected $13.1 million in tax revenue.

- The on-going saga of Cape Coral's utility expansion debacle that has everyone on city utilities paying escalating rates while those not on the system are looking at a proposed legally questionable no-services fee.

- The need for business and economic development - read jobs - in a community with an unemployment rate well exceeding national and state levels.

Add in the day-to-day challenges of managing an already much-reduced staff, the prospect of additional employee reductions, union re-negotiations and citizen demands to maintain core services and Mr. King faces a full agenda, indeed.

There are those in the city who have an issue with Mr. King's appointment due to his involvement during the last election with a group called The Road Ahead and its resultant Contract with Cape Coral, signed or supported by a council majority. There are those who take issue with the process and speed by which council filled what easily is the most important position in the city.

We understand those concerns.

However council has a charter-mandated right to select whomever a majority agrees should lead the city's administration. There are no governing parameters. The board exercised that authority and made its choice.

Agree or disagree, we, as a community should give Mr. King our support.

It's the right thing to do.

Mr. King voiced the opinion during his interview that it's likely he will be held to a higher standard.

That's the right thing to do as well, and we urge both supporters and detractors to take that statement as an invitation.

But mostly, the right thing for the city to do - administration, elected officials and citizenry alike - is to concentrate on the very real, very critical issues at hand.

Solutions are needed, and they are needed now.

May Mr. King provide the leadership to help get us there.

- Breeze editorial

 
 

 

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