MILTON — Members of Milton's City Council had more than the renaming of the city's community center to discuss at the May 14 city council meeting. Following the news of Mayor Heather Lindsay's recent appointment as an assistant city attorney for the city of Pensacola, members of city council voiced a concern that her new appointment could cause a conflict of interest with her role on the Florida-Alabama Transportation Planning Organization.
Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson announced last week that Lindsay would become an assistant attorney for the city. Currently, Lindsay represents Milton on the TPO. Lindsay appointed herself to this role after her election to office in 2018.
Councilman Jeff Snow congratulated Lindsay, then expressed concern over Lindsay working as an attorney for Pensacola under the mayor of that city and serving as a TPO representative for Milton. Pensacola's mayor serves as a representative for his own city.
"You being on TPO and your boss being on TPO, I believe that's going to be a conflict of interest," Snow said.
Councilwoman Shannon Rice expressed similar concerns.
"I think it's a perceived conflict and we've discussed this before and you've stressed the importance of perceived conflicts," Rice said. "And the community perceives it as a conflict. And the best way to resolve it would be to remove yourself from the TPO."
Rice said she believed the perceived conflict is that if Lindsay remains on the TPO she would be, "playing both sides against the middle," and feels the best resolution is for Lindsay to step down as the representative.
Lindsay said Robinson was not her direct boss and while she did not initially perceive any conflict, she was still looking into the issue of any possible conflicts. She said Robinson does not sit on the TPO.
"I didn't apply until I verified there would be no conflict," Lindsay said. "Even after I applied, that discussion continued with the city of Pensacola."
Robinson said in a press conference Monday that he did not see a conflict of interest with Lindsay remaining on the TPO.
"When she goes to something like the TPO my expectation of her is that she will represent the people who she is there to represent," Robinson said. "She is not there as part of Pensacola, she is there as a part of Milton."
Traditionally Milton's mayor has appointed members of the council to serve as representative to special committees including the Tourist Development Council and TPO.
Lindsay deferred further discussion until the May 23 committee of the whole meeting at 5:30 p.m.