by Carol Thompson
The Essex County Ethics Board reached a settlement agreement with the county clerk and deputy clerk in regard to the awarding of a contract to Info Quick Solutions, Inc. of Liverpool, the same company that was recently awarded a contract in the Oswego County Clerk’s office.
County clerk Joseph Provoncha was reprimanded and fined a total of $4,000 for attempting to improperly influence the awarding of a contract. Janet Cross was fined and reprimanded for an improper relationship with an employee of the vendor.
In an agreement reached Friday, both Provoncha and Cross admitted they violated the county ethics policy in dealing with IQS, a vendor that provides document imaging.
Ethics Committee Chairman Mike Orticelle said that the settlement agreement was reached following the scheduling of an adjudicatory hearing.
Provoncha stipulated to improper behavior by letting IQS create an evaluation of all of the submitted requests for proposals and then using that evaluation to convince county officials to hire IQS.
He also stipulated that he failed to properly supervise Cross, who had managed the procurement process and wasn’t qualified to do so.
Provoncha further stipulated that he had violated the ethics policy, the county policy manual and misused the county computers, Orticelle said.
“He failed to disclose the continued misuse of the computer system even after we interviewed him,” Orticelle noted.
Other issues had surfaced during the investigation that the Ethics Board addressed and Provoncha also stipulated to those conditions and must act in a professional manner at all times,” Orticelle said.
Provoncha was fined $3,500 and he had to resign from two other county positions he held, including deputy county manager.
Cross stipulated that she did engage in activities that gave the impression of impropriety because she had failed to disclose a personal business relationship with a representative of IQS. She was reprimanded and ordered to pay a $500 fine.