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City Council postpones two-day retreat

By CHUCK BALLARO - | Jan 12, 2021

Rob Hernandez

Update:

In the wake of the death of Mayor Joe Coviello, the city has postponed the City Council retreats scheduled for today and Friday, as well as the executive sessions that were to preceed the public meetings:

According to the city website:

JANUARY 14, 2021

POSTPONED – City Council Executive Session (closed to the public), and 9:15 a.m. POSTPONED – City Council Retreat (open to the public)

JANUARY 15, 2021

POSTPONED – City Council Executive Session (closed to the public), and 9:15 a.m. POSTPONED – City Council Retreat (open to the public)

Original post:

The Cape Coral City Council will hold a two-day public retreat on Thursday and Friday to discuss a number of items pending for the new year.

The retreat, which is open to the public, will be held at the Westin Cape Coral resort at Marina Village, 5951 Silver King Blvd., in the Tarpon ballrooms 1, 2, and 3, on Thursday starting at 9:15 a.m.

There will be executive session meetings Thursday and Friday at 8:30 a.m. regarding collective bargaining negotiations and ITS security policy, respectively, before the retreat. Those meetings are closed to the public per statute.

City Manager Rob Hernandez started these retreats shortly after taking over as city manager with officials saying they’ve proven to be very beneficial. An example cited was the orientation retreat for the three new council members in November, just before they were sworn into office, said city spokesperson Maureen Buice.

“A retreat is similar to a Committee of the Whole meeting in that we give staff and council a chance to discuss topics more in-depth,” Buice said. “(Hernandez) prefers that verbiage because he wants the setting to be more casual and open rather than formal. The purpose is to get direction from council.”

Topics to be discussed on Thursday include updates on the current budget, capital projects and the $60 million Parks Master Plan GO Bond, as well as organizational changes in Public Works, the Department of Community Development, and utilities, economic development strategies and the creation of an office of communications, which Hernandez will present.

Friday will feature an Urban Land Visioning process, strategic planning and a discussion on a City Council code of conduct, brought forward by Councilmember John Gunter.

There will be time for citizens input at the end of each session. This is a non-voting retreat, though council could reach a consensus on items that members could vote for at a future meeting.

“It’s set up as ‘where are we and where are we headed;’ that’s the overall theme. The retreats won’t replace COW meetings, which will be held monthly, but the city manager hopes to do these quarterly depending on what topics come up.” Buice said. “We hope these meetings will kick off the strategic planning process and ultimately give us a roadmap to prioritize projects and show us where we’re headed.”