Citrus-Hernando transportation lobbyist Robert Esposito tapped to lead regional MPO
Robert Esposito gets a top job for Ciitrus-Hernando.

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'Those are pretty solid recommendations.'

A former aide to state Sen. Jeff Brandes, lauded for his connections to upper levels of state government, was the unanimous choice Thursday to become executive director of the Hernando-Citrus Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Robert Esposito, government affairs liaison for Florida Department of Transportation District 7, succeeds Steven Diaz, who was to retire Oct. 31 but died of cancer Aug. 31.

Seven years ago, Esposito was serving as an aide to Brandes, a St. Petersburg Republican, when he became FDOT District 7 government liaison.

During a meeting in Lecanto, MPO members said their relationships as elected officials with FDOT over the years are stronger because of Esposito’s help.

District 7 Secretary David Gwynn and state Rep. Ralph Massullo, a Republican from Lecanto, both backed Esposito for the MPO job.

“Those are pretty solid recommendations,” MPO Chairman Jeff Kinnard, a Citrus County Commissioner, said.

Hernando County Commissioners Steve Champion and John Allocco said Esposito’s connections within FDOT and the Legislature could lead to more funding for needed road projects.

“There’s a certain amount of politics in all this stuff,” Champion said.

The MPO board interviewed two candidates for director. Board members noted that the other candidate, Joel Graeff, provided a resume that did not have specific dates for his employment history.

Mike Wright

Mike Wright is a former reporter with the Citrus County Chronicle, where he had covered county government and politics since 1987. Mike's skills as an investigative reporter earned him first-place awards in investigative writing. Mike also helped the Chronicle win the Frances Devore Award for Public Service in 2002.

One comment

  • Cassandra

    September 27, 2021 at 10:54 am

    What the article really says: Lobbyist with no MPO experience or planning background tapped to be the next Executive Director of the Metropolitan PLANNING Organization due to his political connections at the state levels. MPO Board is looking forward to advancing their political careers through this hire.

    And we spelled Steve Diez’s name and reason for death wrong.

Comments are closed.


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