Former SRIA board member says he was micro-managed

May 18, 2009

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.”

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  • AnonCG May 23, 2009 at 6:13 am

    To carry further (from my May 22n’d post awaiting moderation)…I really don’t feel I was attacking people (you) anymore than you are willing in a statement in an above post(quoting):

    “What elected official lets his community suffer? If Commissioner Valentino had a plan to revitalize Escambia County’s economy, didn’t he have a moral obligation to share it with the community? Shouldn’t he have brought it to the BOCC or the Chamber before now?

    If a doctor thinks he has a treatment that will reduce his patient’s suffering, he doesn’t wait for the right timing to present his findings or start the treatment. The doctor shares his findings with other doctors and uses it as soon as possible. The goal is to help the patient.”

    How else is there to view that statement than you think GV is destroying families and starving kids since he didn’t get straight out of bed and call a national press conference on his idea when it came to his head? It is a personal attack that is so typical and tired. And unfair. How else can I react to such absurdity but to use the very writing methods you use against your enemies? I see now you are saying he isn’t an enemy and you simply find a few faults with his plan…and you want us to play nice….but your words belie that silliness.

    It reminds me of every vote against any minimum wage increase, child care provision, health care thing, elderly care concept….to oppose any of them will certainly bring an automatic conclusion by you guys. The people opposing were just born to kill babies, old people, poor people, handicapped people, etc. That’s what we gleefully live to do, in your mind. You always go directly to the worst common denominator yet I know you are smart enough to know there are vast legitimate ideological differences in views on how we get better and solve our problems. Yet, no problem calling all of us not-so-sure citizens basically killers and scumbags. It couldn’t be that a person thinks an expanding welfare state creates piles of new dependants. Oh no! It is because we just hate. That’s all you got. You can see that basic concept of hating 50% of the humans on this Earth in your GV quote.

    So now you’ve brought that attitude to local politics. GV is making people lose their houses and starving according to your quote (not mine…I was just responding in kind to your method, using your method of attack), as he didn’t announce his “great” plan the day he hit his head on the toilet and came up with it along with the flux capacitor. Your supporters want to know if we can confiscate tape recorders in his bedroom in case he discussed this idea with his wife…so we can send him to prison for Sunshine Law violations.

    So I don’t see how you can find it all that unusual that it is my concept that I want to send all the other people in local politics to prison. I’m following your lead. They clearly thought ideas out without including me. I bet it could be proven in most cases and almost all of them will admit to thinking their plans thru before going with them publicly. It’s criminal action and I want justice!!!! Just like you. Not only for Sunshine Law problems, but because they were hurting us little guys by not announcing their concepts the day they came up with them. As you’ve noted, that was the real tragedy of GV. I’m for holding all of them to an equal standard.

  • AnonCG May 22, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    Rick, what I guess I’d like further explanation of is exactly how an “idea” should be rolled out to the public or others? Should leaders just announce every whim that pops into their brain for fear they will be attacked for conspiring behind closed doors when, in fact, they might be trying to work out the issues/viability for the idea? I’d rather, for example, our current administration in Washington mull over possible economic actions and introduce them after consideration and study of viability and logistics, rather than just throw any concept that comes to mind out to the public on CNN for debate. The irony here is if a “leader” lived up to the concept of just running to the public and into the open with every notion…they would also get slaughtered on here for being full of half-baked and wildly dumb, not well-thought-out proposals. Where is the right balance? Or is it just case by case based on who deserves more leniency in our minds.

  • AnonCG May 19, 2009 at 5:50 am

    GV is the devil himself…kills kids by not proposing his development plan sooner because they are starving to death as Rick notes. DeWeese killed dozens of teens by only unveiling her plan to give everyone in the city a college education after she was elected. So many children found dead ends and committed suicide before she trumpetedd up as a “leader”. It was a conspiracy by DeWeese and some anti-minority organizations, IMO. She coulda come up with that thought sooner as GV coulda brought his economic development plan forward sooner. It is all a part of a larger conspiracy to kill people Rick is out for. It is sad DeWeese was so petty and didn’t mind people killing themselves like that. But I guess that is Rick-loving politics for you.

    • Rick Outzen May 19, 2009 at 7:45 am

      Nice try at changing the subject and attacking someone who isn’t even part of the discussion. You missed adding Obama and Nancy Pelosi

      BTW: When Maren DeWeese started working on the Pensacola Promise, she posted her ideas on her blog. She hasn’t hesitated to involve others in the community and listen to their input. Both UWF and PJC are helping her work out details. If you want to compare DeWeese’s actions with Valentino, you should have added and “she wants to create her own college and she gets to appoint the president”….which she doesn’t.

      Also I’m not attacking Gene – I don’t like the structure of his proposed board and I don’t agree with how he is rolling this out. This melodrama is unnecessary.

  • Anonymous Too May 19, 2009 at 12:30 am

    “Appointee on ED”

    Erectile dysfunction? Time for Levitra, eh.

  • Anonymous May 18, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    Mr. Dudd-

    I do not know Mr. Robertson, but for an appointee to be removed because he went against the wishes/plans/thoughts of a commissioner is ludicrous. I will not argue this because it is something of the past and no sense dwelling on that, but if the commissioner wants this person to be an extension of him, then the commissioner better start looking for a clone that can’t think for themself – I suppose the same will be said for his appointee to the EDC. Ooooh, better think exactly like the Mafioso Valentino or you will be fired! Sorry, but not all minds work like his. His ego is taking him down fast now. He doesn’t work well with others and it is beginning to hurt his political career.

    Rick or the Independent News is not out to get him, they are reporting the truth about Valentino finally. Carlton Proctor was bashed for saying anything negative about Valentino and called biased, now it is the same status quo for Outzen.

    It is about time someone started to uncover the lone wolf, Valentino and his dictator style of managing. He needs to get that anger under control before someone fires back on him, besides he has no one to blame for his recent troubles but himself. Keep defending him and maybe you can be his appointee on ED; watch out you could be fired for not thinking like him. Valentino believes his own lies and is on his own agenda.

  • Robert May 18, 2009 at 5:37 pm


    I agree. The appointed person should only be doing what he feels is best for the people.

  • Capt. Randy Cudd May 18, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    Kelly Robinson was removed from his position after repeatedly misrepresenting the District 2 Commissioners position with in the SRIA. He was corrected over and over by Commissioner Valentino until the Commissioner finally had no choice but to remove him.
    The Commissioner was elected by the people to lead, he appointed a person that was suppose to be an extension of him at SRIA but instead got someone with their own agenda. When the Commissioner could not rein him in he fired him.
    Rick, you really got to get a handle on your reporting here. Are you just trying to make Valentino look bad before the ED meeting tomorrow?
    Why don’t you interview Valentino on why he fired Robinson?
    By-the-way did you print my other piece, I can’t find it?

    They meant to grab the St. Lucie logo but made a mistake and grabbed St. Lucia, this was a type-o. Check the St. Lucie County, Fl. stats.

    You seam to be against this plan without having heard all of it. You are not bias in are you? I mean it just kind of looks that way. This community has been stagnating for 20yrs, and that is about how long the Chamber has had control of Economic Development. If you want to do some real investigative reporting I suggest you look into the Chambers expenditures and where they get ALL of there money. Check and see how much goes to the upper management staff, it’s just a little top heavy, especially when you look at their results. It could be a great story for you. PNJ isn’t smart enough to do it and the Mobile Press won’t touch anything on their turf.

    Capt. Randy Cudd

    • Rick Outzen May 18, 2009 at 5:03 pm

      The point is the SRIA board member isn’ t there to represent the position of any commissioner.

      Your position would mean that the commissioner’s appointment to the proposed EDC must also represent the position of the commissioner who appoints him. IF Commissioner wants an incentive to go to his supporter’s business, is the appointed obligated to do so?

  • Jason Clark May 18, 2009 at 10:40 am

    I was micro-managed at my old job too. I’m available for an interview if anyone would like my story.