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Cape Coral council member's residence status raises question

May 15, 2013
Ken 'Marty' McClain
Ken 'Marty' McClain


A Cape Coral city council member is now seeking the opinion of the city attorney after it was revealed this week that he’s not been living in his district full-time since late last year.

One of the qualifications for the council is to live in the district you serve. If you don’t, you may need to forfeit your seat.

“The situation is very simple at this point,” said Councilman Marty McClain. “It’s a very private matter that’s been dragged into the public.”

On Wednesday, McClain was in Tavernier near Key Largo. As a consultant in construction, he said the industry that was once struggling through a recession has garnered some steam.

McClain now travels throughout the state for the work. This often means staying for extended periods while making sure to get back for meetings and city business.

“I’ve made a point to never work in the city of Cape Coral so nothing looked remotely like a conflict of interest,” McClain said. “(As a result) there’s a great deal of time spent out of the area.”

This is also one of the reasons McClain hasn’t made a bid for re-election in District 1, he said.

The deadline is June. Candidate qualifications in the city charter read as such:

“Any person eligible to hold the office of Council member may have his or her name placed on the ballot as a candidate for Council member for the Council district in which he or she resides upon filing with the City Clerk a sworn statement of qualifications and the payment of a one hundred dollar ($100) filing fee. Proof of residence shall be established by a valid voter's registration card.”

As of Wednesday, there’s been no formal complaint against him, according to Connie Barron, spokeswoman for the City of Cape Coral. The key element in residency is the intent of the individual to live within their district, she said. But it has nothing to do with daily operations of city government.

The city attorney preferred not to comment.

Councilman Kevin McGrail found out about the accusation Tuesday and said he hoped that wasn’t the case.

“The charter is pretty clear,” McGrail said. “It doesn’t mince words. It’s very straight-forward.”

McGrail said he feels situation is hearsay until it’s confirmed. From there, he said there’s a procedure to look into any violation of the charter and consequences lie within the jurisdiction of the council.

“I get kind of get frustrated with stuff like this. It’s a distraction. The only thing that makes this public is my seat,” he continued.

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