Gov. Ron DeSantis has appointed former congressional staffer Roy Alaimo to the St. Johns County Commission, where he will serve until the 2024 election.
DeSantis’ office announced the appointment Wednesday. Alaimo will finish the term of District 3 Commissioner Paul Waldron, who died Oct. 18.
Henry Dean, who represents District 5 on the County Commission and announced Waldron’s death that morning, told Florida Politics that Alaimo is an excellent choice to succeed the late Commissioner.
“I’ve probably known known Roy for about 10 years, and he’s a great guy, a great appointee, and he’ll be a very helpful addition,” he said.
“Roy’s been very active in community service and also served as Chair of the Planning and Zoning Board, appointed by the County Commission. We certainly need experience when it comes to growth management with the explosion of development here.”
The announcement from DeSantis’ office described Alaimo as the owner of Alaimo Strategies, a St. Augustine-based consulting firm he founded last month, according to the Florida Division of Corporations, and a “former District Representative for the United States House of Representatives.”
Aliamo’s boss in Washington was none other than DeSantis himself. During his time working for DeSantis, Alaimo collected about $70,000 a year, according to LegiStorm.
He’s remained loyal to DeSantis since then and kept politically active as past President of the Ancient City Lions Club and an Executive Committee member of the St. Johns County Republican Party, which he chaired for the last two years.
“He’s done a great job holding that club together during a very tough election cycle,” said Vice Chair Sarah Arnold, who holds the District 2 seat on the County Commission. “Roy is an experienced leader, (and) he has big shoes to fill.”
Those shoes belonged to Waldron, a second-generation St. Johns Commissioner whose death from undisclosed causes saddened many residents, staff and elected officials, including his peers on the dais.
Waldron, who was elected in 2016 and re-elected to a second four-year term in 2020, earned a reputation for public service and charity, serving on several local committees including the Northeast Florida Regional Council, Recreational Advisory Board and Tourist Development Council.
He was hospitalized with COVID-19 in July 2020 but resumed participation in County Commission meetings by early September and returned in person the month after. County spokesperson Lorena Inclán told the St. Augustine Record Waldron used a motorized wheelchair to participate Commission meetings at the County Auditorium.
He was 53 when he died.
“In many ways, we are still grieving the loss of Paul Waldron,” said Chair Christian Whitehurst, who represents District 1 on the County Commission. “He had deep roots in this community. His father was a Commissioner decades ago, and everybody — including myself — just admired Paul, the way he served, the way he was involved in community issues and how he was a voice for the locals. He was born and brought up here, and we’ve been missing him for the last two months.”
While the Commission continues to mourn Waldron’s passing, Whitehurst said, the addition of Alaimo to the board is a necessary and positive step.
“Roy’s been around politics in St. Johns County and Northeast Florida for many years. He’s been a friend to so many who have gone on to be successful, including Ron DeSantis, and I think he’s going to be a great Commissioner,” he said. “He knows the issues we’ve faced, he’s prepared and he’ll do a great job.”
Florida Politics reached out to Alaimo for comment and will update this story upon receipt of one. A search of Twitter shows his account as suspended.