Sudden death of Mayor Joe Coviello leaves gap in leadership

Reporter: Morgan Rynor Writer: Melissa Montoya
Cape Coral Mayor Joe Coviello. WINK News

The sudden death of Joe Coviello has left a hole in the largest city’s mayoral seat.

Cape Coral city councilmembers, due to the Sunshine Law, won’t be able to discuss how to fill the seat for at least a week until they meet again. They are scheduled to meet on Jan. 20.

Tom Hayden, who was elected to Cape Coral city council in November, said Coviello was really welcoming to him.

“He didn’t have to say it but he said he was really looking forward to working with me and that I would make a difference,” Hayden said. “Those kinds of welcoming words for me were important but that’s who he was as a person.”

Hayden went from hoping to learn from Coviello to now, trying to figure out who should take Coviello’s place as leader of Cape Coral.

“The council will have a public meeting where we have a couple of options,” Hayden said.

According to Hayden, within 30 days we can appoint a member to the mayoral seat.

“It could be from the existing council, it could be somebody from outside,” Hayden said. “Obviously, if we appoint from the existing council, that district would open up so there would have to be another appointment.”

If the city council decides not to appoint someone, a special election could be held to fill the seat.

“It could happen probably within a couple of months I would think,” Hayden said.

The public will be invited to comment on how the city should proceed to fill Coviello’s appointment.

Cape Coral could also call an emergency meeting, but that likely would not happen while funeral arrangements are being made.

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