By: Sharon Aron Baron
Lending financial support to a charity is a wonderful and selfless thing to do if you are a citizen, however, as an elected official, there are measures in place including disclosures to fill out when fundraising for a charity.
Tamarac City Commissioner Julie Fishman, did not complete those disclosures. Fishman, who represents Tamarac District 3 covering Kings Point and the Westwood communities left her elected district to support the Parkland charity “Not My Daughter…Find a Cure Now! in a neighboring city. Now, if Fishman paid for event with her own money or used her own time, there would be no issue, provided she complete necessary forms to comply with the Broward County Code of Ethics, instead, the Tamarac taxpayers funded the charity. Not simply by sending a check, but by her actually attending the swanky luncheon on October 30, in Parkland.
In a letter to Tamarac Talk, Fishman explained the reason for her attendance citing that it served a public purpose and that she committed to expanding their fundraising.
“I was there as a Commissioner to represent Tamarac and to see first hand what the organization does for fundraising. Not My Daughter has been looking to include Tamarac in its organization to expand its fundraising and I have committed to helping with that. I have a long background in cancer organizations and hope to continue raising both money and awareness in the fight against cancer.”
In order for Fishman to fundraise for a charity county-wide, she would need to gain the support of her colleagues who must vote on adding it to their existing list of charities. Records show that the charity, Not My daughter…Find a Cure Now! does not appear in Fishman’s list. Nor has she proposed it as a city-sponsored charity in the four month’s time since the event.
If the event was a Tamarac event held in Tamarac for the benefit of the residents, her explanation would have been reasonable, but if she was interested in fundraising as she stated, then she may have needed to complete necessary forms to comply with the Broward County Code of Ethics, which is a requirement for those helping to “expand fundraising” as she stated.
According to the Code of Ethics:
To promote the full and complete transparency of any such solicitation, an Elected Official shall disclose, on a form created by the Office of the County Attorney, the name of the charitable organization, the event for which the funds were solicited, and the name of any individual or entity that requested that the Elected Official engage in the charitable fundraising solicitation. The form shall be filed for public inspection within fifteen (15) days after the solicitation of funds by the Elected Official.
If Fishman failed to fill out these necessary forms, the Office of the Inspector General, who is already investigating the commissioner, her colleagues, and the mayor who spent thousands of dollars on travel, including a $14,000 trip to attend a two-week course through Harvard University will have the final say on this, perhaps later this year.