relied for financial controls

Ex-CFO blamed Baby clothes online

In his opening remarks to the board, Hizer laid the blame for the fiasco at the feet of his former Chief Financial Officer Brian McBroom on whom he said he relied for financial controls.

Hizer fired McBroom on Jan. 7, nearly a month before Saltmarsh alerted him about the gift card irregularities that apparently occurred during the past two years.

The issues with McBroom had been simmering for some time, Hizer said.

“Over the last two years it became increasingly obvious to me that he was not able to keep up with the work load or our standards for accuracy,” Hizer said. “In any business or organization when it comes to money you have to deal with it precisely. He was not performing up to expected standards, and that’s why I terminated him.”

However, Hizer told the board he talked with McBroom about the gift cards a number of times and, again, on Feb. 5.

“He assured me he had gift and premium signed off on the gift card inventory monthly,” he said.

McBroom was Hizer’s chief financial officer at the Bowling Green (Ky.) Area Chamber of Commerce, where Hizer was CEO before coming to Pensacola in 2010. A certified public accountant, McBroom was hired by Hizer in 2011 to become the chamber’s chief operating officer and chief finance officer.

A call Friday afternoon by a News Journal reporter to McBroom’s last known phone number was not returned.

McBroom’s wife, Mandy McBroom, was in the audience during the chamber meeting Friday but did not address the board.

Fund freeze

Meanwhile, the controversy has alarmed some county officials, triggering at least a temporary freeze of public money the chamber receives from the county.

Hizer said business gift the prospect of a long-term freeze of chamber funds would cause serious damage to the county tourism industry as well as to the chamber itself.

“The Visitor Information Center and the Pensacola Sports Association are funded through a consolidated budget,” Hizer said. “That funding from the county is now in danger.”

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