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Former City of Miami director of capital improvement Steve Williamson was selected Tuesday in a 4-3 vote as Council’s top pick for village manager.

Williamson, an Army veteran with tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan, brings to the Village a blend of military and municipal management experience across engineering, resiliency and environmental projects. 

Williamson was the top vote-getter in the initial winnowing of 52 candidates. Council then decided between Brian Lynch, a marine corps veteran, and City of Miami budget chief Christopher Rose, who lost out to Lynch for second place. No votes were cast for the fourth candidate on the shortlist, Joseph Fernandez, a former head of Fire-Rescue for Broward County. The final vote was Williamson 4-3 over Lynch.

Williamson’s work for the Army Corps of Engineers may have been key to his success Tuesday, as the Village prepares to take on a $100M bond recently approved by voter referendum expressly aimed at resiliency projects to protect the island from sea level rise.

Council members joined Mayor Mike Davey in thanking all the candidates for their patience during the process, and congratulating the winner. “Steve is a good guy with a lot of experience. He’ll have a great team under him.”

The vote marks the end of a tumultuous, months-long process in which a front-running candidate dropped out and the current interim manager, Police Chief Charles Press, found himself in the midst of a heated dispute between council members about his potential candidacy. Former manager Andrea Agha, who was in office for two years, resigned in September 2020. Press has been serving as the interim manager since Jan 1.

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Williamson faces contract negotiations that were delegated to Council Member Ed London prior to having an employment agreement approved in a future council meeting. Davey suggested before the vote he would prefer a two-year contract with optional extensions, adding he would “expect to have multiple extensions.” Village Attorney Chad Friedman encouraged council members to give their thoughts to London via the Village Clerk. 

London was unopposed and unanimously selected to negotiate, after taking the first minutes of Tuesday’s hybrid special council meeting to make a statement thanking Press for his service and to address the contention in the previous meeting, asking for it to be noted that Press, “a true soldier,” had never put his own name forward as a candidate for the role.

“He’s always been incredible, we’ve been very fortunate to have him,” said Davey later of Press. “I’m looking forward to him continuing in his role as Chief of Police.”

Williamson was not immediately available Tuesday after the Indepdendent reached out for comment.

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