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Ex-Plantation council member takes over Broward GOP director job

Rico Petrocelli, who lost his re-election bid to the Plantation City Council in 2009 to Pete Tingom and has agreed to a $1,500 state ethics fine, will now serve as the executive director of the Broward Republican Executive Committee.

The director manages the day to day tasks of the GOP's main political group in Broward. BREC has suffered from high turnover in the director position and sluggish fundraising. Petrocelli, who also owns the Plantation Journal online commmunity newspaper, wouldn't reveal how much money he will be paid by BREC. Chair Richard DeNapoli announced Petrocelli's appointment today.

While the GOP is in a strong position statewide after the November sweep, the Broward GOP has its work cut out for them: the party has had scattered, sporadic success at winning local offices and the party is on track to become the third party in Broward -- voters who don't identify with either major party only lag behind registered Republicans by about two dozen.

Petrocelli agreed to a $1,500 ethics fine from the Florida Commission on Ethics earlier this year. That fine stems from Petrocelli seeking donations from entities with interests in the city for a holiday party for the Plantation Athletic League that were deemed to be for his own political benefit. He is awaiting the order from the governor before paying the fine -- standard procedure.

In a press release, Petrocelli emphasized the goals of increasing GOP voter registration, reaching out to the business community and uniting toward "the common goal of electing Republicans." He also serves as a commissioner of the Broward County Housing Authority.