IN interviewed Kelly Robinson to find out what really happened in 2007 when Commissioner Gene Valentino removed him for the Santa Rosa Island Authority board.
The heart of the problem was the proposed changes that would allow condo-hotels on Pensacola Beach (A Hotel of a Problem).
“I thought I was appointed to make policy for Pensacola Beach and Commissioner Valentino never told me otherwise until this issue came up,” says Kelly Robinson. “He wanted to micro-manage the policymakers.”
“When he appointed me, Gene never indicated that I was there to carry out his personal agenda.”
“For two months, I tried to get Gene interested in the condo-hotel issue. I told that we needed to talk about. His first response was, ‘What issue?’ The second time I brought it up, his response was “Send me a position paper”–which I did and he turned it all around and used part of it against me.”
Robinson’s position was that Pensacola Beach needed conventional hotel rooms. They would have more turnover and be better for the overall economy on the island.
Valentino disagreed and removed Robinson from the SRIA. Ironically, the condo-hotels were never built.
BTW: Kelly Robinson said that he isn’t the only appointee that has had trouble with Commissioner Valentino. He suggested that we look into the West End Advisory Board.
“Several of its members have resigned because they have no authority,” says Robinson. “They make suggestions (to Commissioner Valentino) but nothing gets done.”