In a somewhat surprising move Wednesday evening, Key West’s elected officials selected newcomer Albert Childress as the next city manager to succeed Patti McLauchlin, who retires this summer.
Childress has 16 years of experience as city manager of Doral, Florida and more than 20 years of public service. He has masters degrees in business and in public administration.
Childress received the needed four votes from the commission in the first round of voting.
Commissioners Lissette Carey, Mary Lou Hoover, Jimmy Weekley and Mayor Teri Johnston voted for Childress. Commissioners Clayton Lopez and Sam Kaufman supported Thaddeus Cohen.
Commissioner Billy Wardlow supported Abe Conn, who also had vocal support from a dozen or so supporters, who spoke in favor of Conn at the Feb. 16 special city commission meeting.
Resident Tom Milone spoke on behalf of Childress given his qualifications and experience.
Before the vote, Johnston said she was basing her decision largely on the feedback she had received from city staff and department heads, who spent two days meeting with the four finalists at City Hall.
Contract negotiations are the next step. Stay tuned to keysweeky.com for updates.