The city of Key West has hired consultant Bob Slavin to help find a new city manager. Slavin, who is based in Atlanta, will be in Key West in the next week or two to meet with each commissioner to design a recruitment profile for the desired qualifications in a candidate.

“After we create that profile, the process usually takes about 30 days until you’re interviewing candidates,” Slavin said, adding that his company offers a guarantee that any candidate he places will stay on the job at least two years or he will perform another search at no charge.

Slavin emphasized that his process is tailored to individual city’s needs, “so we won’t just be taking something off the shelf and applying it to Key West,” Slavin said.

Interim city manager Patti McLauchlin told the Keys Weekly last week that she expects the whole process to be completed with a new city manager in place or in final interviews within 90 days.

In other commission activity, officials had to allow the city’s COVID mask mandates and other restrictions to expire this week, following Gov. Ron DeSantis’s order that voids all local restrictions. 

“Once again, Tallahassee has preempted you from acting.” city attorney Shawn Smith said.

Fence dispute

A fence alongside the North Roosevelt Boulevard seawall next to the Marriott Beachside Hotel is under dispute, city attorney Shawn Smith told the commissioners.

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Smith said the hotel owners, who are the Spottswood family, claim to own the area that has been fenced in to prevent illegal boat docking and kayak access. Some local boaters claim the fence is illegal.

“It’s a complicated issue, no doubt, but the question is do you as a commission want a fence there?” Smith said.

Concerns include ownership of the area, protecting public access to public property and potential mangrove destruction by either the fence or by illegal vessel access.

Smith said he will check back next month after the commissioners have a chance to familiarize themselves with the site and the issues.

South Roosevelt bike lane

Commissioners want to ask the Florida Department of Transportation to change its plans for an $11.5 million upgrade to South Roosevelt Boulevard improvements. Rather than the planned four-lane road improvements, city officials would prefer three vehicle travel lanes and a continuous bike lane on each sides of the road. 

Transportation officials have not responded to the requested change, and the city only wants it if it won’t delay the work schedule. 

One issue is an area in front of Key West by the Sea, where FDOT does not have authority to do any work. Without access to that property’s frontage, the project could lose 30 parking spots.

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