Patti McLauchlin hands the reins of city manager to Al Childress. LARRY BLACKBURN/Keys Weekly

Retiring Key West city manager Patti McLauchlin has had a clock on her phone, counting down the days until her retirement next month after more than 30 years with the city of Key West.

The support, friendship and emotion poured out on McLauchlin’s behalf during her June 23 retirement party would have made anyone second-guess their decision to leave it all behind. But only for a moment. 

McLauchlin, who moved up through the city ranks before becoming Key West’s first female city manager in 2021, has said she can’t wait to spend more time with her grandchildren, family and friends —¸without also having to manage an entire city.

That responsibility now falls to McLauchlin’s successor Al Childress, who started work in April to allow for sufficient overlap before McLauchlin’s last day on Friday, July 14.

On behalf of the Keys Weekly, we wish you all the best and we thank you for your support and accessibility in keeping the community informed via its local newspaper.

Mandy Miles drops stuff, breaks things and falls down more than any adult should. An award-winning writer, reporter and columnist, she's been stringing words together in Key West since 1998. "Local news is crucial," she says. "It informs and connects a community. It prompts conversation. It gets people involved, holds people accountable. The Keys Weekly takes its responsibility seriously. Our owners are raising families in Key West & Marathon. Our writers live in the communities we cover - Key West, Marathon & the Upper Keys. We respect our readers. We question our leaders. We believe in the Florida Keys community. And we like to have a good time." Mandy's married to a saintly — and handy — fishing captain, and can't imagine living anywhere else.