Former Pinellas Commissioner Norm Roche seeks vacant Tallahassee City Commission seat


Former Pinellas County Commissioner Norm Roche has applied to fill a vacant Tallahassee City Commission seat.

Seat 1 was vacated after Gov. Rick Scott suspended Scott Maddox following a federal indictment against the longtime Tallahassee politician.  

Roche moved to Tallahassee after losing his re-election bid for the Pinellas County Commission to fellow Republican Ed Hooper in 2014. The seat was ultimately won by Democrat Pat Gerard.

Roche currently works for the city as a temporary customer account specialist in the utilities department.

Roche, a Tea Party conservative, is one of many Republicans trying to capitalize on the interim appointment to the otherwise left-leaning City Commission.

Maddox was caught up in a years-long FBI public corruption investigation. He stands accused of a host of white-collar crimes, including racketeering, extortion and fraud. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges. 

It’s the same investigation that plagued former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum, who accepted free tickets to the Broadway show “Hamilton” from a federal agent.

Roche is now one of 17 applicants for the vacant seat, according to the Tallahassee Democrat. Interested parties have until Dec. 22 to apply.

Roche was well-known in Pinellas County politics because of his opposition to water fluoridation, a position seen by many as pandering to far-right conservatives opposed to adding the chemical to water.

The issue ultimately led to Roche being unseated during a contentious Republican Primary in 2014.

Roche was also the lone opponent on the Pinellas County Commission to the 2014 Greenlight Pinellas referendum. It sought to raise local sales tax by 1 percentage point to fund sweeping transit improvements.

That initiative ultimately failed, but it was widely backed by elected officials, including Republicans, in Pinellas County.

In his application letter, Roche touts his experience as a Pinellas County Commissioner for four years as a key qualification to serve as a Tallahassee City Commissioner, noting his experience working with multiple municipalities on county issues.

The person appointed to the seat will serve until Maddox is reinstated to his position or until the end of Maddox’s term on Nov. 16, 2020.

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected].

One comment

  • Brian E Roche

    December 17, 2018 at 12:14 pm

    Well, at the risk of being lambasted by someone as intellectually bankrupt as a former St Pete Times “STAPH” Writer…can be…

    Norm Roche, is NOT, was NOT, and never presented himself as a “tea party conservative” so BS on that ms irwin…

    And in Keeping with the under-reporting or less than factual reporting of the Times during this particular episode, quite naturally, just as the paper did at the time, leave out just about everything that actually occurred during the Commission Meeting in which this contentious issue was discussed…

    Also, he didn’t move to Tallahassee AFTER Losing his re-election bid, he moved to a beautiful place called Elijay (sp), Ga and THEN to Tallahassee to be nearer to his First Grandchild…

    You may recall that after he lost the Election, he attempted to Return to working for the County, as he did Prior to Running 4 Times, at primarily HIS OWN EXPENSE, for a seat on the County Commission…WAS HIRED (presumably because, much to the consternation of the Times I suppose, presented himself as someone that could capably perform the duties for which he was hired and NOT as I read your “tea party” inference, WAS NOT and IDIOT, in search of a Village)…

    You may, and probably do recall, that the County Administrator, having learned that somehow, someway, Mr Roche managed to get hired — in an effort to continue his service (admirable or not, to you and any other naysayer) to the citizens of Pinellas County as he had done for 10 Years previously to the County, and, at Great Personal Sacrifice, was required/Forced to Resign, in order to Offer Himself as a Candidate for the Commission, Freakin Magically Created a NEW Rule, barring him from returning to the County as an Employee, citing something about former county electeds or some other BS…but enough of that…for now

    Tea Party whatever, was NEVER a Consideration to Him, NOR was He ever a Card Carrying Member so to speak…

    But again, I’m not surprised, considering your previous tenure as a “staph” writer for the Times…a newspaper in name only these days, most likely because it is still printed on paper…and NOT the paragon of Print Journalism that it so richly deserved when it was considered one of the 6 best Newspapers in the Country…

    Days, that unfortunately for us still living in Pinellas County, those days have long since passed…

    By the Way, He ISN”T a Temporary Employee, He is a Full Time, Hired, on actual staff, having successfully completed his Temporary Assignment — as required, by the way — in Order to be considered for PERMANENT EMPLOYEE STATUS…

    Facts, I’m guessing you are also aware of…but then again. reporter you are NOT…”staph” writer…

    So janelle…why not take a look into the Scandal that is Currently waiting to be visited on Current County Commissioner, Ken Welch, and his wife, for misappropriation of funds…

    I forget, Hard Journalism isn’t your thing…

Comments are closed.


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