At the June 19th Leon County Commission meeting, County Commissioner and mayoral candidate John Dailey nominated Robert Volpe to serve as one of Leon County’s appointments to the Tallahassee-Leon County Planning Commission. Volpe was approved for the seat with a 6-1 vote.
The Planning Commission is a joint city-county board with city appointments and county appointments.
Since that vote Tallahassee Reports has verified that Volpe -who also applied for a city seat on the Planning Commission – was not considered for the seat by the City of Tallahassee because of a potential conflict due to a family member working in the Planning Department.
Also, TR confirmed that Mr. Volpe served as the host of a mayoral fundraiser for Dailey less than four weeks before he was nominated for the Planning Commission seat.
Leon County Commissioner Dailey told TR that there is no financial conflict with Mr. Volpe and that he was extremely qualified for the position. Dailey added that the Planning Commission is an advisory board and their votes on issues are recommendations to elected officials and are nonbinding.
When reached by TR, Chairman of the Leon County Commission Nick Maddox said he was not aware of the family connection or the fundraiser at the time of the vote.
Leon County Commissioner Bryan Desloge also told TR he was not aware of the family relationship.
Both Maddox and Desloge did not want to make any further comments until doing their own research.
Tallahassee Reports verified that Mr. Volpe’s brother-in-law, Artie White, serves as the Administrator of Comprehensive Planning at the City of Tallahassee.
Sources have told TR that Mr. White’s responsibilities include crafting recommendations on planning decisions that would be voted on by members of the Planning Commission.
The seat was previously occupied by Dianne Williams-Cox, who is a current city commission candidate. Ms. Williams-Cox had reapplied for the position but was passed over, in part, because of her candidacy.
The first action taken on the appointment was a motion by Dailey to nominate Volpe.
After the nomination, Commissioner Proctor advocated for Williams-Cox. During that discussion, Commissioner Kristen Dozier said that “I am not inclined to think we should have candidates on the commission.”
Dozier also cited qualifications as a reason for an alternative candidate.
In addition, Leon County Commissioner Chairman Nick Maddox voiced concern about her candidacy.
County Attorney Herb Theile, replying to a question by Commissioner Proctor, stated there were no rules against appointing a candidate to the Planning Commission.
Volpe was then approved 6-1, with Proctor voting against the nomination.