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Find out what Cape Coral's newest council member decided on controversial pay increase

Stipend for mayor, council draws sharp questioning
Richard Carr District 4 Councilmember
Posted at 2:47 PM, Jan 09, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-09 16:08:21-05

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — On Tuesday, newly appointed Cape Coral District 4 Council member Richard Carr told Fox 4, he's wasting no time.

“As promised I jumped right in,” said Carr.

Carr spoke with Fox 4's Colton Chavez about his time since being appointed in December 2023 for the District 4 seat.

A meeting Fox 4 showed you, got heated after Cape Coral City Council members approved a stipend that essentially doubles how much council members and the mayor of Cape Coral get paid.

Click here to watch footage from that meeting.

“I was actually thinking of the other candidates and if they hadn’t had the experience that I have had how much of an impact that would have made on them, about questioning what they were doing,” said Carr when asked about what was going through his mind at that meeting.

Richard Carr, a 30-year Cape Coral resident said during times like last month's meeting, he pointed back to his experience during his long history of working in law enforcement.

“You’re dealing with contentious issues from time to time and people that are having issues, personal issues, family issues that are impacting their lives anytime you’re involved in things like that there is a potential for high emotion," said Carr.

Rich Leon, who started a petition against the stipend, said he had felt his own high emotions since first starting to collect signatures.

“From the beginning, I really wanted 500 signatures and we’re focused on 6,800 right now,” said Leon.

Leon first spoke with Fox 4 back when the petition was launched and on Tuesday said he planned to present the petition at the City of Cape Coral's meeting on Jan 10, 2024.

“People are just excited. People are wanting to say, hey, this government needs to change,” said Leon.

A stipend council member Carr said he decided not to accept

“I took my time to look at the issue to become more familiar with it and the justification and things like that. I wanted to be comfortable with the decision,” said Carr.

Carr, who was appointed and not elected said the council’s next meeting is the next step towards showing the city of Cape Coral who he is and why he is the right person for the job.

“I just got here differently and I think it’s more important that I try to establish who I am over the next 11 months so the public can form their own decision,” said Carr.

The City of Cape Coral's next council meeting is on Jan. 10 at 4:30 p.m.