Key West City Commissioner Dan Kolhage has handed in his resignation. Effective July 6, he will no longer represent District III. When city commissioners reconvene Tuesday, July 7, his replacement will be in place. At Tuesday’s regularly scheduled commission meeting, The Key West Weekly learned how the commission would proceed. They’ve opted to skip procedures A, B & C, and move directly to nominations.

“I would just like to settle on somebody and get on with it,” says District I Commissioner Bill Verge, who was absent from the last city commission meeting.

“If I had been here,” continued Verge, “I would have voted for Joe Pais. Joe knows the ropes.”

Commissioner Verge, referring to Commissioner Kolhage’s motion to have former City Commissioner Joe Pais fill his vacancy, until the elections in October.

A sentiment based on the notion: Pais would not decide at the final hour to throw his hat in the ring to run again once Kolhage’s term is completed.

Reservations Commissioner Teri Johnston stated she still has. “I will continue to have a reservation if we do not have something down in writing stating Pais will in fact not run.”

Commissioner Johnston simply stating, “The fact there is one little loophole out there makes me uncomfortable. Not with the man, but with the process.”

Still, her colleagues again argued, Pais’ word is good, and the real goal is to nominate and elect an individual who can “hit the ground running”. Someone, who already “knows the ropes”, and has the ability to digest a city budget effortlessly.

Commissioner Verge noting, “I would assume appoint someone now, and let them get their feet on the ground. Kolhage is gone in a couple days. I move we eliminate Section A, Section B, Section C, and accept Section D.”

Which, according to City Attorney Shawn Smith, means: during one of the special meetings held on either June 23, 24, or 30, city commissioners will nominate and vote on Kolhage’s replacement.

If the individual happens to be Joe Pais, they just need to trust he’s not going to run. Commissioner Johnston facetiously baffled how anyone could choose not to.

“If they sit here for five meetings,” she pointed out, “they may be so stimulated they may want to run!”

Commissioner Kolhage is leaving Key West to pursue business opportunities in North Carolina. His colleagues will have the opportunity to present possible replacements at a special meeting next week, followed by an official vote. The new District III commissioner will join the governing body at Old City Hall for the next meeting July 7.

Commissioner Dan Kolhage with his fire hat presented to him by Commissioner Mark Rossi. The helmet is to honor Kuhlage’s support and ability to put out fires- real and figurative.

“Thank you tremendously for what you’ve done with the last four years of your life,” said Rossi as he presented the keepsake. Photo by Josie Koler


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