He’s currently the interim village manager, but some members of the Key Biscayne Village Council said Tuesday they’d like longtime Police Chief Charles Press to keep the job permanently.
“He has been doing a good job,” said Council Member Brett Moss. “We should consider him as one of our finalists.” Moss, who was supported by Council Members Allison McCormick and Frank Caplan, said he would bring up the idea formally at the next council meeting.
Caplan said the sudden withdrawal of a leading candidate, Tom Bradford, had “shuffled my deck a little bit.” McCormick said she was “enormously impressed” with Press’ abilities.
But other council members didn’t see it that way, sometimes leading to raised voices in the hybrid council meeting.
Council Member Luis Lauredo was incensed, saying that considering Press was “almost bordering on the unethical,” because there was a pledge that Press would not seek the manager’s post.
“There is a clique, and a conspiracy, and underhanded kind of rule in the city,” Lauredo said.
Council Member Ignacio Segurola said departing from the current search process was a “bait and switch” and opposed considering Press as a candidate.
“Borderline unethical? I don’t know what that means,” replied Moss. “One thing I want to make clear. Our interim manager did not approach me in any way.”
Council Member Allison McCormick bristled at Lauredo’s comments.
“I’m outraged. I feel like I’ve been accused of violating the Sunshine Law tonight.”
Lauredo interrupted her, raising his voice. “Madam, when did I accuse you?” as McCormick tried to continue her comments.
As the meeting ended, Lauredo focused on Press, asking whether he was rescinding what he called a “pledge” not to stand as a candidate for the permanent job.
“I have always been a soldier for the Village of Key Biscayne,” Press said, saying that while he did not apply for the job, he would serve as permanent manager if asked — or return to his job as police chief, a job he has held since 2004.
The Council has been looking for a permanent manager after Andrea Agha submitted her resignation in September of last year. She was earning $205,000 annually.
The next council meeting is set for April 6th. While Lauredo and Council Member Ed London said they were ready to vote immediately, other council members said they wanted the public to see applicants in a meet-and-greet.
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.