Niagara County Treasurer Dave Broderick has been an excellent public servant for longer than I can remember. However, recent allegations that Broderick abused his authority as a public administrator of estates raises some serious questions. The allegations come from Amherst lawyer Teresa Snyder, who has accused Broderick of overstepping his bounds as public administrator by allowing his wife, Jane Broderick, to serve as the realtor of a property formerly owned by Snyder’s mother.
Two prominent county judges, Sara Sheldon Sperrazza and Matthew Murphy, this week made an audit request of Broderick, and all 19 county legislators have signed on to the request. Kudos to the judges and the Leg for taking action on this.
We're not saying Broderick did anything wrong as it relates to the handling of the estate work. What sticks in our craw is the very real likelihood that Broderick conducted this "private" business on county time, using county resources and county employees. Best case scenario, this is offensive. Worst case scenario, it's downright illegal.
County Attorney Claude Joerg has stated that the Leg has no standing to form a board of inquiry, as requested by the minority caucus, in the Broderick matter. He said the statute covering the formation of inquiry boards covers only situations involving the mishandling of public money by county officials. In this case, he again argued that Broderick’s duties as public administrator, while assigned to him by state law, do not involve the handling of any public dollars and are, in essence, a side job for the treasurer.
Fine, we'll go along with that determination; we don't like it, but we'll accept it. But it does not address whether or not county resources were utilized for, as the county attorney has labeled it, Broderick's "side job".
We find the prospect of using county resources more offensive than allegedly handing a real estate deal to his wife. Why? Because that means county tax dollars, MY tax dollars, were used for Broderick's side job....allegedly. That's unacceptable.
The Leg needs to follow this investigation to fruition. If the allegations are found to be true, someone needs to fired or removed from office. Any other outcome will be construed as condoning of this type of behavior.