The Key Colony Beach City Commission is set for a new fifth member, following last week’s surprise resignation by former Mayor-Commissioner Patti Trefry. When exactly that member will take a seat on the dais is still far from determined.

The city has set Friday, Nov. 3 at noon as its deadline for interested residents to apply for consideration by the seated commission to fill the vacant seat. Those applications are set for discussion at the city’s regular commission meeting on Thursday, Nov. 16 at 9:30 a.m. Per the city’s code of ordinances, an applicant may only be seated with a 3-1 or unanimous vote. In a text message to the Weekly, City Administrator Dave Turner said he has yet to receive an official application as of Oct. 18.

If no candidate earns a majority vote, the decision will head to a special election, the details of which are still up in the air. Though the city’s code contains provisions for City Clerk Silvia Gransee to act as its supervisor of elections, Monroe County Supervisor of Elections Joyce Griffin has handled KCB’s recent votes that aligned with larger municipal elections in a courtesy some commissioners said was essentially a favor to the city.

Speaking with the Weekly on Oct. 18, Griffin said KCB could potentially align a special election with Florida’s presidential primary, set for March 19, 2024, at no projected cost to the city. Meanwhile, a single-precinct special election would come with an estimated price tag of roughly $5,000 to $8,000. As KCB’s code specifies that “no special election shall be held within six months prior to a regularly scheduled municipal election,” the city’s clock for such an election would presumably expire in early May.

Despite the seated commissioners remaining sharply divided 2-2 on several key issues, Mayor pro tem Beth Ramsay-Vickrey told the Weekly she was still “hopeful” an agreeable applicant would emerge and that the commission would return to full strength before its organizational meeting in December, avoiding the “time and considerable money” of a special election. While Ramsay-Vickrey will serve in Trefry’s place for now, KCB is set to realign its officers at that final meeting of 2023.

Commissioners React to Trefry’s Departure

Ramsay-Vickrey: “I know first-hand how important and fleeting time with loved ones can be, so I understand Patti and Bill’s desire to be closer to their family. Personally, it has been a pleasure working with Patti, and I thank her for her time, dedication and service to our city.”

Commissioner Freddie Foster: “I wish her the best in her future endeavors. Being a grandfather of many, I understand.”

Secretary-Treasurer Tom Harding: “We’re going to be very sorry to see her go. She provided strong leadership and support for the city, but I’m happy for her for her next adventure and her future.”

The Weekly also reached out to Commissioner Joey Raspe, but was unable to connect before press time.

Alex Rickert made the perfectly natural career progression from dolphin trainer to newspaper editor in 2021 after freelancing for Keys Weekly while working full time at Dolphin Research Center. A resident of Marathon since 2015, he fell in love with the Florida Keys community by helping multiple organizations and friends rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Irma. An avid runner, actor, and spearfisherman, he spends as much of his time outside of work on or under the sea having civil disagreements with sharks.