Utilities official draws ethics complaint.Byline: Joe Harwood The Register-Guard
A Salem-based nonprofit agency has filed an ethics complaint against Eugene Water & Electric Board Commissioner Sandra Bishop, alleging she violated conflict of interest laws by voting on a janitorial contract the utility awarded in May.
The Oregon Rehabilitation rehabilitation: see physical therapy. Association, a group representing nonprofit agencies that employ people with disabilities, submitted the complaint after Bishop refused to recuse To disqualify or remove oneself as a judge over a particular proceeding because of one's conflict of interest. Recusal, or the judge's act of disqualifying himself or herself from presiding over a proceeding, is based on the Maxim herself from discussion and action on the five-year, $1.4 million EWEB EWEB Eugene Water and Electric Board (Oregon) contract.
Bishop, a professional lobbyist, works on behalf of the Fair Competition Alliance, a single-issue trade group dedicated to limiting the ability of nonprofit agencies that employ the disabled to win noncompetitive public contracts for janitorial, landscape and other services.
The state Legislature A state legislature may refer to a legislative branch or body of a political subdivision in a federal system.
The following legislatures exist in the following political subdivisions:
In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with. a product or service to determine whether such a product or service is available from a nonprofit that employs the disabled. If a qualified nonprofit firm exists, the agency must award the contract - without competitive bidding Competitive bidding
A securities offering process in which securities firms submit competing bids to the issuer for the securities the issuer wishes to sell.
1. - to the nonprofit employer.
The state Department of Administrative Services maintains a list of nonprofits eligible under the law and reviews all contracts. One of those qualified companies is Garten Services, a firm that has provided EWEB with janitorial services done by disabled workers since 2000.
Bishop's lobbying client, the FCA FCA
Abbreviation for the Free Carrier , mostly comprises small businesses, including some that have lost public contracts to firms who employ the disabled. The organization argues that the state law was meant to employ only severely disabled people in sheltered workshops or activity centers, not those able to function independently at airports, public utilities and in other settings.
The FCA, which shares Bishop's Eugene office and phone number, and the Oregon Rehabilitation Association frequently have butted heads in court and at legislative hearings over the years.
Dennis Koho, a Keizer attorney who filed the complaint on behalf of the ORA ora (o´rah) pl. o´rae [L.] an edge or margin.
ora serra´ta re´tinae the zigzag margin of the retina of the eye. , said that under state ethics laws, Bishop was required to disclose a conflict with her relationship with the FCA - given that group's stated mission to limit or abolish the awarding of no-bid contracts for ORA-affiliated firms.
At EWEB, Bishop serves as an unpaid, elected board member, setting policy.
At the May 3 EWEB meeting, Bishop pulled the Garten contract from the board's consent calendar, arguing that renewing the five-year contract could put the utility at financial risk because it contained an open-ended cost escalation clause escalation clause n → cláusula de reajuste de los precios
escalation clause n → clause f d'indexation
escalation clause n .
"I did not want to enter into a five-year contract that can arbitrarily raise the price based on factors beyond the control of EWEB," Bishop told The Register-Guard. "I'm protecting the interests of ratepayers by looking at each and every contract."
Bishop told fellow commissioners at the meeting that the FCA was one of her clients, but declared no conflict. When asked directly by Board President Ron Farmer whether she had a conflict, Bishop stated that she had no conflict of interest because she had no way to gain by the discussion or action taken by the board, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. minutes of the meeting.
In 2004, Bishop reported receiving approximately $7,000 for lobbying services from the FCA, according to documents filed with the state.
Bishop said the ethics complaint filed against her with the Oregon Government Standards and Practices Commission "is simply an underhanded intimidation technique from a group that has maligned ma·lign
tr.v. ma·ligned, ma·lign·ing, ma·ligns
To make evil, harmful, and often untrue statements about; speak evil of.
1. Evil in disposition, nature, or intent.
2. me personally for years."
Koho, the ORA attorney, said even if Bishop didn't profit from her participation in the contract award - which was ultimately approved by the board on a 3-2 vote - she should have declared a conflict of interest or a potential conflict of interest. Bishop voted against the contract renewal.
"The law doesn't predicate In programming, a statement that evaluates an expression and provides a true or false answer based on the condition of the data. itself on who wins but on what the public official is trying to do," Koho said. "I think what the ethics commission In the United States, an Ethics Commission is a commission established by State law to discourage dishonest practices by their public employees and elected officials. Almost all American states have such a commission. will be looking at is whether the closeness of her association meets the statute."
Bishop countered that the disabled employment law includes parts that allow the state to review the no-bid contracts and to set prices, but she said the state rarely does that.
"I believe these nonprofits fill out the forms and (the state) rubber stamps them," she said. "So I don't have a conflict of interest or a potential conflict."
Another issue included in the complaint is Bishop's connection with David Hinkley, who at times has done research work for Bishop and the FCA. Hinkley and the FCA in 2000 sued EWEB, alleging the agency failed to comply with proper public contracting procedures in awarding Garten a janitorial contract. Hinkley argued EWEB was incurring significantly higher costs by awarding the contract to Garten and its disabled workers and not opening it for competitive bids.
A Lane County Circuit Court judge dismissed the lawsuit, which was then appealed to the state Court of Appeals. That panel in 2002 ruled that the FCA lacked standing in the case and dismissed the trade group as a plaintiff. The court ruled Hinkley could pursue a case, but the matter has remained dormant for more than three years.
Bishop said Hinkley is a long-time family friend and acknowledged that he occasionally does research work for her under a professional services (job) professional services - A department of a supplier providing consultancy and programming manpower for the supplier's products. contract paid for by the FCA. Although a lobbyist for the group, Bishop said she is not involved in any litigation An action brought in court to enforce a particular right. The act or process of bringing a lawsuit in and of itself; a judicial contest; any dispute.
When a person begins a civil lawsuit, the person enters into a process called litigation. , nor is she privy to information related to such lawsuits.
Pat Hearn, executive director of the standards commission, said the agency is reviewing the complaint and won't decide until early October whether to conduct an investigation. He declined further comment, citing confidentiality rules.