Cape Coral City Council to discuss controversial stipends

Reporter: Claire Galt Writer: Carolina Guzman
Published: Updated:

This afternoon, money is at the top of Cape Coral City Council‘s mind after being in the hot seat over a controversial stipend they voted for themselves.

The stipends that were voted on include $5,000 extra a month for the mayor and $3,333 more a month in salary for each council member.

On Wednesday afternoon, there will be a discussion about whether the council should amend the charter to set their salaries each year.

This means the stipends could go away.

Councilman Robert Whelsh is proposing to amend the charter to say the council and the mayor can’t get payment for expenses, AKA stipends.

Instead, the board would vote each year to set their entire salary.

Right now, the salary is set in the charter, not by a vote, but during public comment, a number of people made it clear that they don’t trust the Cape Coral city council to set their own salary.

“After the stipend controversy, I think that you, as a whole, have limited your credibility with the voters,” said a citizen.

“The current playing field is more akin to a war zone than a mutual trust. The stipend situation was, to a great extent, a self-inflicted wound,” said a citizen.

Wednesday is just a workshop to talk about the idea and gather a consensus.

Before the stipends go away, the council would have to vote to put a referendum on the ballot to amend the charter.

Then, voters would have the final say.

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