CAPE CORAL, Fla. — News no one was prepared for. The sudden death of Cape Coral Mayor Joe Coviello Wednesday morning. It hit those who knew him best, hard. Councilman Tom Hayden told Fox 4 council members gathered at City Hall after they heard the news.
“It was shocking, and incredibly sad for his family, and the community. Joe had such a big heart for the city,” said Hayden. “The fire chaplain came over, and we all said a prayer together, which was really nice. It’s these days when you, you know. You come together.”
The newly elected councilman shared a defining moment he had with the mayor. Before he was officially sworn in, he sat in on a council meeting.
“I was standing in the back, and he didn’t have to say it, but he said ‘Councilmember Hayden’s in the back.’ We really look forward to working with him. He’s going to be a good addition. So, just those little details. Caring about the people that were around him,” said Hayden.
Councilwoman Jessica Cosden, also mourning the loss of Coviello, whom she’s worked with for the last three years. She shared this statement with Fox 4:
“Mayor Coviello led with dignity and passion. He served the city with such dedication. We will miss him terribly,” she said.
While they’re still grieving, Hayden says city leaders will have to think about what comes next.
“There’s two options. The city can appoint a new council member. If that doesn’t happen within 30 days, then there has to be a special election,” he said. “Even if we appoint a councilmember, we can still have a special election.”
Coviello’s term was set to expire next year. Whoever gets appointed or elected will finish out that term.