It ought to be routine for Pinellas County commissioners to check whether people they want to appoint to county boards have paid their county taxes. But it isn't, and that is why prominent developer Roger Broderick, who has a host of financial problems and owes delinquent taxes, is sitting on the Pinellas Housing Finance Authority board. Broderick should resign, and the commission should improve its backgrounding procedures.
County commissioners know Broderick. At least some of them ought to recall the criticism leveled at the commission in 2009 after it donated land to him to build a controversial housing development, only to learn later that he hadn't paid his county taxes. Yet the commission appointed Broderick in April to the Housing Finance Authority board, which sells bonds to build affordable housing and help first-time home buyers. If commissioners had checked, they would have found that Broderick owes $90,000 in back taxes and is in foreclosure on some two dozen properties. Broderick told neither the board nor the County Commission about his financial issues.
It is essential that appointees have their financial affairs in order if they are going to serve on public boards that make financial decisions. Broderick should step down, and commissioners should step up their vetting of board applicants to avoid future embarrassments.