CAPE CORAL, Fla. - There were fireworks Monday night over Cape Coral's choice for a new city manager. One council member called the decision a "sham."
Gary King was chosen as the Cape's new city manager last week from a field of five candidates; but during that process and again Monday night, two council members stood up to criticize King's past links with the mayor and other council members.
"Was this so-called process a ramrodded sham?" asked council member Marty McClain during council debate. "I have to say, yes it was."
McClain said he felt Gary King's selection as city manager had been "pre-determined" by his connections on the council. Fellow council member Kevin McGrail added King hadn't been completely truthful about donations to Mayor John Sullivan's election campaign. Initially revealed as $25, McGrail says Sullivan's own campaign treasurer claimed it was more.
"His affiliations or relationships with anyone on council, that's all I asked for," McGrail said. "I have yet to get a complete and truthful final answer to that."
"I can't be bought at any price, I don't care what anybody says," Sullivan responded. "They say everyone's got a price. Money's not my thing."
King, a regular at council meetings previously, said he was upfront about all ties.
"I said that I actively promoted them, yes," King said. "I supported them, yes."
McGrail says he's concerned king's name shows up on a "Contract with Cape Coral" campaign pledge, which also included signatures from the mayor and five council members, including Erick Kuehn, who was also appointed to his position by the current council.
King maintains there were no special favors.
"Everyone's their own judge of that, but I believe I stood up on my own merits, my own credentials, my own background," King said.
The council is now moving ahead with contract discussions with King. It could be complete by the time the council returns from its summer district work break on July 19th.