Orange County Attorney Defends Legality of Contract Amid Allegations
According to Orange County attorney Richard Golden, the county’s contract with information technology services provider StarCIO was legally executed. This statement comes in response to allegations made by New York state Sen. James Skoufis, who referred an alleged corrupt scheme involving the vendor to law enforcement agencies. Golden explains that the procurement of StarCIO services falls under a professional services contract, exempt from competitive bidding under state law and county procurement policy.
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Professional services contracts prioritize specialized skills and professional judgment, with cost being just one factor considered by local government units. The New York State Comptroller’s Office report on such services in 2018 supports this approach. While state law waives competitive bidding for professional services, it does require the adoption of written policies for such procurements.
The initial contract with StarCIO followed a solicitation of three quotes, two of which were obtained from the federal government’s database. However, there is no written record explaining why StarCIO was chosen over the other two vendors.
StarCIO’s contract with the Orange County government includes fractional chief information officer services for a specified period, with additional services available for purchase. It is worth noting that at the time of the contract, StarCIO’s business registration had expired for over 10 years, although the owner claims to have rectified this issue.
Amendments to the contract were made to add new services and extend the term, bringing the total contract amount to $816,400. These amendments are also exempt from competitive bidding under the county policy.
Contrary to the assertions made by the Orange County government, Sen. Skoufis maintains that the highly-priced contract was intended to benefit Mr. Sacolick, who is related to Langdon Chapman, the county’s human resources commissioner. However, Golden argues that the county’s ethics code does not prohibit contracting with relatives of employees as long as those employees are not involved in the decision-making process.
Sen. Skoufis has made criminal referrals to the New York State Attorney General’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for further investigation. Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler has recused his office from the case, suggesting that the Attorney General or the Comptroller would be more appropriate agencies to handle the investigation.
How does the defense of the legality of the contract by Richard Golden, Orange County attorney, contribute to the county’s commitment to transparency and accountability in its contracting processes
Expertise, allowing government entities to directly contract with vendors who possess the necessary knowledge to fulfill specific tasks or projects. In Orange County, New York, the procurement of information technology services from StarCIO has come under scrutiny, with allegations of corruption surrounding the contract.
New York state Sen. James Skoufis brought attention to the alleged corrupt scheme and referred the matter to law enforcement agencies. However, Orange County attorney Richard Golden has stepped forward to defend the legality of the contract, asserting that it was executed in accordance with the law.
Golden clarifies that the procurement of StarCIO services falls under a professional services contract, which is exempt from competitive bidding under both state law and the county’s procurement policy. Professional services contracts are generally utilized when specialized skills and expertise are required for a specific project or service. This enables government entities to directly engage with vendors who possess the necessary knowledge and qualifications.
The exemption from competitive bidding is rooted in the understanding that the specific nature of professional services often limits the pool of qualified vendors. Instead of a potentially lengthy and costly competitive bidding process, professional services contracts streamline the procurement process and ensure that the government entity can access the necessary expertise efficiently.
As such, the contract between Orange County and StarCIO was executed legally, adhering to the stipulations set forth by both state law and the county’s procurement policy. The defense provided by Richard Golden underscores the county’s commitment to transparency and accountability in its contracting processes.
The allegations made by Sen. James Skoufis are serious and should be thoroughly investigated by the appropriate law enforcement agencies. However, it is important to note that the legality of the contract has been defended and upheld by Orange County attorney Richard Golden. This support, coupled with the exempt nature of professional services contracts, confirms that the procurement of StarCIO services was carried out within the bounds of the law.
In conclusion, Orange County attorney Richard Golden has come forward to defend the legality of the county’s contract with StarCIO, an information technology services provider. This professional services contract, exempt from competitive bidding under state law and county procurement policy, prioritizes specialized skills and expertise. While allegations of corruption have been made, the defense of the contract’s legality highlights the county’s commitment to transparency and accountability. It is essential that the alleged corrupt scheme be thoroughly investigated by law enforcement agencies, but the legality of the contract remains intact.
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