Leadership is in dramatic flux in two of Key Biscayne’s biggest residential communities, where a new president took office at one mammoth complex and there was a challenge to current leadership at the other.
The two complexes — Key Colony and the Ocean Club — have about 6,500 residents, almost half of the island’s population of 14,000.
At Key Colony, the board of directors appointed David McDanal as the new president. McDanal, a financial services professional, replaced Louisa Conway, who narrowly held on to her director’s seat in the complex’s Emerald Bay building. In that election, where one of Conway’s opponents was temporarily disqualified, just seven votes separated four candidates.
Conway, who lost her bid to sit on the Village Council in November, declined to seek reappointment at the Association’s organizational meeting Monday. Earlier in the year, some Key Colony directors had attempted to hold a discussion about Conway’s conduct over legal bills and other matters, but that meeting ended abruptly when half of the eight-member board left a Zoom meeting, causing a lack of quorum.
At the Ocean Club, President Steve Powel survived an effort to oust him as president Feb. 16, at another tense meeting. The action led more than 275 people to sign an electronic petition, which asks that directors who supported his ouster be removed. The issue? Some directors believe Powel should be stripped of office because he leases his unit and lives elsewhere on the island.
Powel said he is spending the same amount of time working at the complex as before and said the leadership challenge was “simply a matter of old guard versus new guard, fighting change and fighting growth.” He said he believes another attempt to remove him from office will be made at the next meeting, March 15.
Former Ocean Club President Fausto Gomez, who was one of the owners speaking at the meeting, said he has no opinion on whether Powel should remain as Ocean Club’s leader and said there are credible arguments on both sides about Powel remaining in his position.
“That’s up to the board and the voter reps,” Gomez said. “Level-headed folks need to get together, sit down, and come to a conclusion which is amiable and neighborly.”
At Key Colony, where the board is reviewing an engineering report that outlined between seven to ten million dollars’ worth of maintenance work, McDanal said his goal is to focus on working with a new management company “to have the property at the highest level.” He said he will also prioritize encouraging owner involvement.
Tony Winton is the editor-in-chief of the Key Biscayne Independent and president of Miami Fourth Estate, Inc. He worked previously at The Associated Press for three decades winning multiple Edward R. Murrow awards. He was president of the News Media Guild, a journalism union, for 10 years. Born in Chicago, he is a graduate of Columbia University. His interests are photography and technology, sailing, cooking, and science fiction.