This is how the city hires department heads?
To the editor:
With regard to the search for a new police chief. The search cost $19,000 plus bringing in the candidates for interviews before Council, plus lodging and food, etc. which potentially added thousands of dollars to that amount.
We had a local candidate that came up through the ranks with excellent credentials and but that was not good enough for the city manager. We ended up hiring the local candidate who was serving as interim police chief.
The position of Chief Financial Officer was advertised for $445, total, on the city website and one other. No search was done as was done for the police chief.
The Chief Financial Officer handles approximately $1 billion of taxpayer money.
Where was the due diligence in the search for Chief Financial Officer for Cape Coral? The Chief Financial Officer position is the single most important position in the City of Cape Coral!
I was told that the city manager said he got his advice from former city manager Terry Stewart on Mark Mason for the CFO position!! God Save the Queen!!!
That gives me pause for sure. Mr. Stewart, the then city manager, apparently approved of what Mr. Mason was doing to manage taxpayer monies as the Mr. Stewart oversaw him when they both worked for the city.
Mr. Mason as CFO appeared before Council to answer questions on a budget in question and was less then forthcoming with answers to pointed questions and, by some accounts then, appeared to be lying.
That is all on tape which the current Mayor, Council and City Manager were advised of. They were also given all the official documentation.
Council subsequently passed another Ordinance 125-08, rescinding Ordinance 55-08 which was previously passed approving this budget.
Ordinance 125-08 was approximately 20 pages long of corrections/changes to the budget totally into the tens of millions dollars. The same thing happened in 2006 with 24 findings from the State Audit, again in the millions!
This was quite controversial at the time.
Mr. Mason ultimately resigned as did Mr. Stewart.
Everyone on the dais received all this info along with the city manager. I have been advised that only one Council person responded to the City Manager with questions on it. If that is so it is shameful! The Mayor and Council should be all over this!
I would humbly suggest that the Mayor and Council do a thorough investigation into this issue. The City Manager cannot be allowed to act with impunity!