Patti McLauchlin is Key West’s first female city manager, having received unanimous approval on June 15 from the city commission. Officials directed the city attorney to draft an employment contract for a minimum of two years, which is when McLauchlin is scheduled to retire.
“There’s a new level of calm in the city,” Teri Johnston told McLauchlin. “You treat people fairly and equitably. You think before you act and you reach out to the community before you make a decision. We know you’ll lead this community in a moral and equitable way.”
Commissioner Greg Davila told McLauchlin, “I never liked the word ‘interim’ in front of your name. You are our city manager.”
Commissioners Clayton Lopez, Billy Wardlow, Sam Kaufman and Mary Lou Hoover each echoed their resounding support. Lopez applauded McLauchlin’s commitment to a succession plan that will, ideally, provide the city with her replacement when she retires.
McLauchlin sincerely thanked each commissioner and the mayor for the opportunity and their confidence in her. She also thanked her sister, Charla, son Frank and her two grandsons for their support.
“I’m committed to this community, my community,” she said. “I’m committed to our employees … and I’m extremely honored to be the first woman city manager of my community.”
The selection committee initially tasked with helping to find a new city manager met Monday, June 14 at City Hall and was prepared to approve a profile describing the ideal city manager candidate. A consultant was then going to find potential candidates and start an interview process.
“Then there was a request from the committee about whether I would consider doing the job for another two years, and I said I would,” McLauchlin told the Keys Weekly Monday evening after the committee met.
McLauchlin has worked for the city for 40 years and was assistant city manager under Greg Veliz, who resigned in April. McLauchlin was then appointed interim city manager while the commission embarked on a national search for Veliz’s replacement. The search is over.
In other news, McLauchlin told the commissioners that the RFP (Request for Proposals) for the Duval Street revitalization project should be “on the streets” by the next commission meeting and awaiting responses. The city ended its contract with the first company it selected, KCI Technologies, when several of its key personnel left the company.
Also, the discussion and decision about changes to the city’s garbage collection contract with Waste Management was postponed until July 20. Waste Management wants to increase some of its prices for garbage and recycling collection. Its current seven-year contract ends on Dec. 31, but includes two four-year renewal options. The city’s utilities director, John Paul Castro, has said he cannot recommend approval of the increase before the contract expires, as it has already been negotiated.