Gloria Tate appointed to fill District 1 Council seat
It took several votes and much discussion, but in the end, the Cape Coral City Council decided that experience and lifelong knowledge of the city trumped a fresh set of eyes.
Gloria Tate, who has lived in the city since almost its founding and has served two terms on city council, was appointed Wednesday to fill the remainder of John Gunter’s term as the District 1 council member. Gunter was appointed mayor last month following the death of Mayor Joe Coviello.
“I want to be part of this council in any way possible. That’s really all I need to say,” Tate said in a succinct comment.
Council conducted most of its interviews one-on-one prior to the regular meeting where each of 10 remaining applicants had an opportunity to present opening statements and publicly answer questions.
Councilmember Jessica Cosden asked what the biggest challenge in the city would be for the next 25 years, while Gunter asked what the three biggest issues are as the city creates a strategic plan.
After two votes by Council that produced nothing close to a consensus, council members expanded their personal choices and brought them up for discussion.
Two candidates emerged, Tate, a Realtor, and Carol Rae Culliton, president and chairperson of the Gunterberg Charitable Foundation.
“We have a lot of issues we’ll be discussing. It’s important to have someone who can take the seat and understand the issues,” Gunter said. “That person can hit the ground running with no learning curve.”
In the initial vote between the two, five council members voted for Tate while Council members Tom Hayden and Jennifer Nelson voted for Culliton.
Council then voted on Tate’s nomination and the vote was unanimous.
Tate then was sworn in by City Clerk Kimberly Bruns with former mayor Joe Mazurkiewicz holding the Bible.
In the event of a vacancy, Council has two options to fill the seat until the next municipal election: A special election or board appointment.
Following the death of Coviello, Council opted to fill that vacancy, and then the resulting District 1 vacancy by appointment.
The cost of a special election, with a primary, was estimated by the Supervisor of Elections Office at around $500,000.
Appointed members serve until the next regular election, in this case until November 2022.
Tate was elected, and re-elected, to serve on Council from 1996-2005. She also previously was appointed to the District 1 seat, serving from December 2008 to November 2009. The term came in a similar double-appointment situation — District 1 Councilmember Jim Burch was appointed mayor to fill a vacancy left by Mayor Eric Feichthaler.
Feichthaler resigned due to his run for the Lee County Commission.
Tate served until the 2009 election, opting then not to seek election to the seat.
Tate’s accomplishments outside of Council are lengthy. Highlights include serving as chair of the Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce and the Lee County MPO twice. She also has won the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Cape Coral Chamber, the Women’s Council of Realtors Lee County as well as Lee County’s the Paulette Burton Citizen of the Year Award in 2017, among many other things.