Puto and Schraffenberger are early applicants

By Sara Mathis & Jason Koler

On Wednesday, Sept. 14, the tiny city of City of Key Colony Beach is taking a giant step: hiring their first dedicated city administrator at a special call meeting. Currently, there are only two candidates vying for the job — former Marathon City Manager Mike Puto and former Key Colony Beach Commissioner Ryan Schraffenberger.

Both applicants were present at this past Thursday’s Commissioner meeting when Mayor Jerry Ellis proposed hiring Puto on the spot.

“This would be a great job for him,” said Ellis. “I didn’t dream he would do it. But he lives here and would do a great job.”

His motion was met with opposition.

“I was taken by surprise,” said Commissioner John DeNeale. “I am going to do my homework. I am not going to guarantee that I will even vote on Wednesday.”

Commissioner April Tracy told the Weekly, “Regardless of who the applicants are there is a hiring process. I look forward to learning more about the applicants followed by a discussion with my fellow commissioners to choose the best possible candidate for our residents.”

In previous years, the administration of the city was handled by the mayor, which is decided at the first organizational meeting after an election. For his or her trouble, the mayor earned an extra $2,000 over the commissioner’s regular $8,000 annual salary.

The city has already budgeted $60,000 for what’s described as a part-time position.

“Its isn’t really a new position,” says KCB Mayor Jerry Ellis. “It has been here forever. I was just something that was not played up very much.”

“I wouldn’t mind stepping up and working hard and having some fun,” said Puto. “I’m definitely well qualified and it would be a pleasure to serve as their administrator. I have the time and connections to do a good job for the city.”

“I want to do something for my city and my organizational skills would serve the residents well,” said Schraffenberger. “Key Colony Beach needs to upgrade their computer systems and start working towards a paperless office.”

This summer, during budget workshops, it was noted that the mayor is increasingly dealing with more and more complex matters, resulting in more hours at a city desk. Initially, commissioners sought to put aside a $25,000 stipend for the elected mayor … but that is in violation of Key Colony Beach’s own charter.

“Our charter does not allow a commissioner to also have a paid city position,” said City Clerk Kathryn McCullough. She said position is necessary as the elected mayor does not always have the qualifications, or the time, to serve as administrator. “And, because of Florida’s Sunshine Law, commissioners cannot pose administrative questions to the mayor unless it’s at a public meeting.”

The city clerk has not been ordered to advertise the position, but will accept applications until Wednesday.

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