KEY WEST LOSES CITY MANAGER GREG VELIZ TO WATER UTILITY

Key West City manager Greg Veliz agreed on Friday to accept the job as assistant director at the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority.

He told Keys Weekly that he would be very supportive of deputy city manager Patti McLauchlin’s promotion to city manager – if she wanted the job.

“I don’t think she really believed I was going, but if she wants the job she will absolutely have my support,” he said. “Patti is great and she is with us for all the right reasons.”

“This was the hardest decision I’ve ever made,” an emotional Veliz told Keys Weekly Friday afternoon. “It was really, really difficult. But it was a tough two years. You live your life under constant control, which is difficult not so much for me but also for my family. “

Financial considerations also played a big role in his decision, Veliz said, adding that his own situation further underscores the inequality between the city’s compensation and that of other agencies and utilities.

“I would not have felt comfortable if I had changed my own contract without being able to solve the same problem for all other municipal employees,” said Veliz.

His contract with the city stipulates that he cancels 90 days before he leaves. “I would expect the city to want me to stay these 90 days, but that’s up to them.”

As deputy director, he will take over command of the nationwide water supplier.

Veliz said there will be some learning curve as he becomes familiar with Aqueduct Authority operations. “But for me, managing people means managing people. I don’t have a law enforcement degree and I run a police department. “

He also said he expects his previous construction experience to serve him well on the Aqueduct Authority’s ongoing capital projects.

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