Monroe County administrator’s contract up for vote

Monroe County's top executive seeks to extend his contract until mid-2020.

County Administrator Roman Gastesi submitted a contract extension proposal to the County Commission for the board meeting Wednesday at the Murray E. Nelson Government Center on Key Largo.

Gastesi, 54, started working for the county in May 2008. His current contract expires next May unless extended.

He earns $192,171 annually, plus benefits valued at $78,986.

Gastesi previously worked for the South Florida Water Management District and as a water-resources manager in Miami-Dade.

He generally has received mostly high marks from county commissioners.

In 2012, Gastesi was reprimanded by commissioners after he was among buyers in the county's iPad and iPhone scandal. A county department head purchased cell phones and computer tablets at full price with county money, then resold the items. Buyers said they were misled into believing the purchases were legitimate. The department head served a prison sentence.

In other issues at the 9 a.m. Wednesday session at the mile marker 102 center:

- Review of a revised staging plan for the Ragnar Series Relay event in the Florida Keys, submitted to seek approval for the Feb. 5 and 6 run to be permitted. Commissioners previously denied necessary approval. The new proposal would stop runners in Marathon, then drive them to Key West for a finishing leg. The revamped plan is intended to prevent Lower Keys traffic slowdowns caused by slow-moving support vehicles and runner exchanges during prior Ragnar events.

- Consideration of 2016 recommendations from the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact for state and federal legislation. Monroe County last week hosted the four-county compact's conference in Key West. Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties participated. 

The compact's recommendations include requests for more funding for infrastructure improvements needed because of projected sea-level rise; protecting coastal natural areas like reefs and mangroves as a buffer; improved sea-level rise mapping; support for sustainable energy systems, and opposition to allowing oil exploration in Florida's waters and protected lands.

  • Consideration of a license agreement for the fifth annual Brew on the Bay Craft Beer Festival on Jan. 9 at the county-owned Rowell's Marina events venue. The Brew on the Bay is a benefit of the Rotary Club of Key Largo. Monroe County will receive 5 percent of event gross for its expenses.
  • A proposal for Monroe County to intervene in a state Public Service Commission review of a rate increase for Stock Island customers of Key West Resort Utilities, the county's lone privately operated wastewater firm. The company has requested a 98 percent hike in the base rate for most residential customers, from $17.81 to $35.26. It would be the utility's first increase since 2009.