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October 13, 2012

Ethics Board: Essex Co. clerk, deputy violated ethics rules

County officials to pay fines for trying to sway contract

(Continued)

Provoncha is an elected official, while Cross is appointed to her post.

Contacted afterward, Provoncha confirmed that Cross will keep her job. She will be barred from any future bid or procurement processes, however.

Provoncha said he does not feel the Ethics Board inquiry was a fair proceeding.

“I don’t believe they listened to both sides. Before, it (the document contract) was professional services (and required no bid process). Now it goes out to bid. We did what we thought was right. We didn’t favor any company over another.”

He stressed that he didn’t exchange emails with anyone at the company and is not mentioned in any emails.

‘DRAGGED THROUGH MUD’

The county is still using the Info Quick software and equipment, now in the second year of the contract.

Speaking from his office by phone after the meeting, Info Quick Solutions owner Bernie Owens said Provoncha’s conduct was above board as far as he’s concerned.

“There was nothing anything between Mr. Provoncha and myself as far as lunches, dinners, anything,” Owens said. “There was absolutely nothing between IQS and Mr. Provoncha. There were never any gifts or anything underhanded.”

He said the county saved $100,000 over the length of the contract by using Info Quick instead of the previous vendor.

Owens praised Provoncha as trying to do the right thing to get Essex County a better contract.

“Mr. Provoncha has integrity, and I think he’s a sensitive person. I feel our company and people associated with us have been dragged through the mud.”

Email Lohr McKinstry:

lmckinstry@pressrepublican.com

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