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Unions considers recall bid in Cape Coral

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Aug. 15, 2011 capecoral

Read previous articles on the Cape Coral's relationship with police and fire unions. capecoral

Read previous articles on Cape Coral's relationship with police and fire unions.


1:10 A.M. — The relationships between Cape Coral Mayor John Sullivan and the city's public safety unions is strained as is, but they soon could get worse.

Police union president Kurt Grau said the organization will start testing the waters for an effort to give Sullivan the boot in a recall election. Firefighter union president Mark Muerth said members of his executive board have debated doing the same for about a year and would be glad to lend their support.

"It has a lot to do with respect and being treated fairly," Grau said. "It's just continually, every week, bashing of city employees, and citizens also."

Sullivan said the potential recall effort doesn't bother him.

"That's their prerogative," he said. "I'm not worried about it. It's just getting more and more ridiculous every day."

The members of Miami's police union started on a similar path last week when they voted 432-16 to lead a campaign to recall the city's mayor, Tomas Regalado.

That led the Cape police union to post a question on its Facebook page Saturday afternoon - "How many of you would sign a petition to recall the Mayor? Miami (Fraternal Order of Police) is doing that right now!" The post garnered 58 likes and 26 comments.

Grau said the mayor's recent quip about a campaign photo from 2009 - which bears an image of him holding a sign with a circle and a slash over the word "incumbents" - that began popping up in yards is what sent him over the edge.

"I don't get mad, I get even," Sullivan told a reporter.

"We should have a professional mayor in there not making threats toward everyday citizens," Grau said.

He said the union will likely take a poll of its members to see if they support the effort and then begin a drive to collect signatures from residents, he said.

About 4,500 signatures would be needed, he said, or 5 percent of registered voters. He said members might collect signatures during the upcoming election.

Both Grau and Muerth said they're not worried about their relationship with city leaders getting worse.

"We don't even have relations right now with this mayor and council," Muerth said.

He added the unions would gauge public support for the recall and likely hold off if the city's residents are reluctant.

"It's, 'What agenda do the taxpayers want?' and help them get that accomplished," Muerth said.

Grau, for his part, said he's not afraid of things becoming even more heated.

"In my job, I deal with murderers," Grau said. "I go into a small room and try to get them to confess. I'm not going to be intimated by (the mayor and council)."

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