Two Key West city managers will be present for the next several city commission meetings — Patti McLauchlin and Al Childress, who starts work on Monday, April 3 and will take part in the April 4 meeting.

The next two or three months of overlap are intended to give Childress time to get acclimated before McLauchlin retires this summer.

Childress is expected at the April 4 meeting to present some proposed changes to the city commission agendas.

The April 4 agenda is a heavy one, laden with more opposition from Key West lawmakers to Tallahassee lawmakers. More on that in a moment.

City attorney contract & new city clerk

But first, the commission is expected to approve a four-year employment contract with City Attorney Ron Ramsign with a one-year renewal option after four years. If approved, Ramsingh will earn a $215,000 annual salary with an option to renegotiate after the first six months. He also will receive a monthly $500 car and $150 cell phone allowance.

The commission also has to start looking for a new city clerk, which is one of only three positions in city government that the commission hires directly. The city manager and attorney are the other two. The city manager or their designee is responsible for hiring all other workers. 

An agenda item for April 4 calls for the establishment of a search within the state of Florida and the creation of a screening committee to review applications for the job.

Opposition to state bills

And now on to the continuing rancor between some city commissioners and their counterparts in the Florida Legislature.

The April 4 agenda lists five pending bills in Tallahassee that city officials could urge politicians to defeat. The vote to oppose these bills may not be unanimous, as none of the following proposed resolutions opposing state bills are sponsored by all seven elected Key West officials. Commissioners Sam Kaufman and Lissette Carey are not listed as sponsors on any of the resolutions opposing state bills.

Those bills being considered in Tallahassee would:

  • “…prohibit the display of the Conch Republic Flag, the Pride Flag, or any flag other than the United States Flag, the Florida State Flag, and the POW-MIA Flag on public property….” (House Bill 1011/ Senate Bill 668). Sponsored by Commissioners Jimmy Weekley, Mayor Teri Johnston, Commissioner Clayton Lopez and Commissioner Billy Wardlow
  • “…prohibit local governments from prohibiting or restricting private waste management providers….” (House Bill 975/Senate Bill 798). Sponsored by Lopez, Johnston and Wardlow
  • “… prohibit gender affirming treatment for anyone under the age of 18….” (House Bill 1421/ Senate Bill 254). Sponsored by Weekley and Lopez.
  • “…pertaining to defamation claims, which would restrict the First Amendment Rights of Florida residents….” (House Bill 991/Senate Bill 1220). Sponsored by Lopez, Mary Lou Hoover, Weekley and Johnston.)

“… would allow concealed carry of weapons and firearms without a license….” (House Bill 543/Senate Bill 150). Sponsored by Lopez, Hoover, Weekley and Johnston.

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.