duck key

An Information Guide to Duck Key in the Florida Keys
























March 2006 Response to Key West Citizen article

Advertisement appearing in the Upper Keys Reporter


The Factual Side in Perspective

At the regular Board of County Commissioners meeting on February 15th, all five County Commissioners voted in favor of placing an add-on item on to the agenda.

The item was to question the continued effectiveness of the County Attorney.

It is, or should be, the responsibility of every elected Commissioner and Mayor to make inquires and assist their constituents in dealing with County Government. In the client/attorney relationship between Commissioner and the County Attorney there must be confidence in his counsel and his availability. Three of the five County Commissioners felt that Mr. Collins was not meeting their needs, making it more difficult to serve their constituents.

Mr. Collins was replaced with the runner-up candidate from the selection process several years ago. The Mayor had originally cast the deciding vote to hire Mr. Collins over the runner-up after heavy lobbying by Collins, as this would be his last job before retirement in Georgia. For the past year, the Mayor has dealt almost exclusively with an Assistant County Attorney.
As for the reasons given by Mr. Collins for his dismissal as reported in the Key West Citizen:

#1 That the Mayor helped Frank and Kathie Lee Gifford keep their downstairs enclosure in Ocean Reef.
The Mayor has never seen the structure in question, but has consistently been supportive of retention of these enclosures if they do not constitute the threat of collateral damage. Many families, not just the Giffords, use the enclosure for storage or additional living space.

#2 Trying to bend the rules so a Key West Policeman could finish a half completed home.
The Mayor's administrative aide's records show that the County Attorney was contacted on two occasions regarding the policeman's situation. The first time was in June 2005 when the Mayor sent the policeman's letter to Mr. Collins for legal opinion. The Mayor never received a response. In December 2005, the administrative aide sent an e-mail to Mr. Collins regarding the matter and never received a response back from him.                                                                                                                                .

#3 Stretching an opinion by Florida Attorney General so Commissioners could have teleconference meetings. .
For four years, the Mayor has been trying to create an electronic system where citizens, a hundred miles away, could be seen and heard at workshops and special meetings. All in compliance with state law. We now have the state's authority, waiting only on some improvements in the Key Largo area.

 #4 The Mayor calling a swimming pool "a water retention area."
The Mayor, who is also an architect, understands that rain that falls in a swimming pool is retained on the property.

Letter received from Charles Curry dated 2-20-06
I did contact Commissioner (Mayor) McCoy about a problem that my son had on Big Coppitt Key. We did meet to discuss the problem and were given solutions which were done. My son met with Code Enforcement at the County Attorney's Office. They negotiated and a fine was paid in the amount of $2,400.
Had the reporter called me this could have been explained in a very few words. Now the Key West Citizen has chosen to embarrass me and my family by printing untruths.

Charles Perry Curry Jr.


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Several days after the Commissioners' response appeared in the Reporter, the KeyNoter printed an article on the advertisement - portions of which appears below

"County attorney makes stand
Citizen Staff"

The KeyNoter reported that acting county attorney Suzanne Hutton had emailed commissioners to inform them that the " newspaper ad defending the County Commission's firing of the county attorney has caused more problems than it was intended to solve and is distracting from other important county government issues" and that ". . . the ad seems to have generated even more uproar,"and she "hoped the issue could be resolved soon."

The article also stated that "County Mayor Sonny McCoy placed the ad in two local newspapers to refute the reasons Richard Collins said he was fired in a Feb. 22 article in The Citizen."

Reporter Ann Henson also writes in her article that "acting county attorney Hutton still is investigating how to pay for the ads, which cost $1,000."

Henson writes, " Although one ad said the board paid for it, the other four commissioners said they did not approve it." According to the article Hutton apparently believes expenditures of that nature "require the Commission's approval."

County Manager "Willi said McCoy told him he wanted to place the ad and asked Willi to make sure the statements were legal. Willi said he never saw the ad. When the newspaper asked who was going to pay for the ad, McCoy referred questions to Willi."