Key Colony Beach’s new city commission took shape on Dec. 1 with the swearing-in of newly elected commissioners Beth Ramsay-Vickrey and Freddie Foster. In the wake of former commissioner Ron Sutton’s passing on Oct. 25, the seated commissioners voted to appoint former Code Enforcement and Planning and Zoning Board chair Joey Raspe to fill the vacant seat.

Finishing as the top vote-getter with 42.3% of the vote in the Nov. 8 general election, Ramsay-Vickrey was re-elected following her appointment in April 2022 to fill the seat vacated by former commissioner Kathryn McCullough.

With 31.62% of the vote, Foster won his first term on the commission with the final open seat, defeating former secretary/treasurer John DeNeale (26.01%).

In addition to Raspe, the seated commissioners heard from fellow applicants Phillip “Larry” Mills and Robert “Bob” Glassman to fill Sutton’s vacant seat. Per the city’s charter, remaining commissioners may appoint a qualified individual to fill a vacant seat within 45 days, with a special election held if an agreement cannot be reached.

Glassman, a former Planning and Zoning Board member, spoke of his experience as a soon-to-be full-time resident and owner of a home formerly used as a vacation rental, a position he said allowed him to understand challenges and issues faced by both types of property owners in KCB. Working as a computer programmer for 36 years, Glassman also created and owned Florida Keys Tankless Water Heaters from 2006 to 2016. 

Vietnam veteran Mills touted his experience as vice president of a private equity investment firm as well as a 48-year career in construction that began in his military days. Major projects included construction of electrical generating, water treatment and wastewater treatment facilities along with several gas and oil pipelines.

In addition to his service on two boards, which saw him work hand in hand with the city’s building department and code enforcement officer, Raspe discussed his membership in the Monroe Emergency Reserve Corps, a volunteer organization that supports the Monroe County office of emergency management, as well as his heavy involvement in the city fishing and boating club and its annual children’s fishing derby.

Though the seated members heralded all three candidates as qualified to hold the position, the commission voted 3-1 to appoint Raspe, with Foster instead voting for Mills. Raspe will serve the remainder of Sutton’s term, expiring in 2024.

“I just don’t think, at this point in time, that anybody’s more qualified than Joey to immediately walk into this seat and start operating at a professional and a full level from day one,” said Ramsay-Vickrey.

In a surprising 3-2 split vote that drew a buzz from the room, the commission chose former mayor Patti Trefry to continue in her post, with Foster nominating former vice mayor Tom Harding instead. Both Foster and Harding voted against Trefry’s selection. Ramsay-Vickrey secured the position of vice mayor with an identical 3-2 split, while Harding was chosen as secretary/treasurer in a 4-1 decision. Harding, who had nominated Foster, was the lone nay vote in his own selection.

Photos by ALEX RICKERT/Keys Weekly

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.