by Carol Thompson
The Essex County Board of Supervisors has hired a prosecutor at the rate of $150 per hour to represent the county in an Ethics Committee adjudicatory hearing in regard to the relationship between an employee of the clerk’s office and an employee of a vendor.
As first reported in the Oct. 1, 2011 issue of The Valley News, a request made under the Freedom of Information Law for the correspondence between Essex County and Info Quick Solutions Inc. of Liverpool resulted in the county providing hundreds of e-mail messages with some suggesting there was more than a professional relationship between Essex County Deputy Clerk Janet Cross and IQS employee Joe Murman.
IQS also holds a contract with the Oswego County Clerk’s office and there have been similar allegations of inappropriate relationships between the company and employees.
The Oswego County Ethics Board found Deputy Clerk Georgiana Mansfield guilty of working for both the county and IQS. She subsequently paid a fine to the county. The ethics board also issued harsh words after the county clerk and deputy clerk of operations were seen at a restaurant with IQS officials in May.
Following the discovery of the correspondence between Cross and Murman, Essex County officials turned the matter over to Franklin County District Attorney Derek Champagne. He issued a report Feb. 1 to Essex County officials suggesting the matter be submitted to the ethics board and he also referred his report to the New York State Attorney General.