During the July meeting, Mayor Teri Johnston and the City Commission proclaimed July 19 as Patti McLauchlin Day in honor of the retiring City Manager's last day. July 19 concludes a 47-year career of public service to the City of Key West by McLauchlin.
She began in 1976 as a dispatcher for the Key West Police Department. She built her skills and knowledge, raised her son, and acquired degrees from the College of the Florida Keys and Barry University.
In 1987 she moved into information technology, working her way through the ranks to the department director and moving the City into the 21st Century.
“There was no email, no network, no website," she told the commission. "At that time, there was no enterprise software or the capability of broadcasting meetings. We have made many strides in the last 20 years.”
In 2019, McLauchlin was promoted to Assistant City Manager, and in 2021 she was selected to serve as City Manager. She is the first woman in the city's history to serve in each of those roles.
The proclamation makes note of McLauchlin's “'we can do that positive’ attitude. Through volunteer and professional affiliations, Patti continues to share her wealth of knowledge and experience and serves as a role model for the Key West community and government peers.”
McLauchlin thanked so many of the people she's worked with through the years and noted some of the highlights and some of her watch's struggles.
“As City Manager, I was part of Key West being honored as a Coast Guard City,” she said. “I witnessed Capt. Beth Regoli take over command of the Naval Air Station and most recently commissioned the USS Lenah Higbee.”
On the other hand, she noted, "What a roller coaster ride it’s been. Covid, cruise ships, roads under construction, housing issues, employee shortages. You name it. We were all part of it together.”
In addition to the special day, McLauchlin was presented with a plaque for her years of service and one for her retirement. Finally, she was honored by the packed commission chambers with a well-earned standing ovation.
In the photo from L to R: Commissioner Mary Lou Hoover and Lissette Carey, FKAA Executive Director and former City Manager Greg Veliz, County Commissioner, and former City Manager Jim Scholl, retiring City Manager Patti McLauchlin, Mayor Teri Johnston, Commissioners Clayton Lopez and Billy Wardlow, City Manager Al Childress, and Assistant City Manager Todd Stoughton. Also in attendance via Zoom was Vice-Mayor Sam Kaufman.