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Chris Patrick Reading Comprehension 101

January 7, 2013   ·   0 Comments

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After sitting through the County Highway meeting today, I would like to say I am surprised, but I guess nothing surprises me anymore.  I presented the entire board with copies of the state and federal statute pertaining to the conflict of interest with Chris Patrick and his company Zimmerly Ready Mix.

In particular, the one with the most importance, since it’s the same one the State provided informing him of the conflict, was the Federal CFR on Conflicts.

As to the statute itself, it is SO CLEAR I am shocked that Chris Patrick takes the position that the portion I didn’t highlight for him somehow justifies his conflict.

 Mr. Patrick, IT DOES NOT!

For most people with a 5th grade reading comprehension it would be clear.  I challenge you to read the statute and apply it to the facts of the situation.  The first sentence that is underlined is the portion that I highlighted for the County Board members.  The 3rd sentence that is underlined is the portion of the statute that Mr. Patrick took issue with me on and wanted to know why I didn’t highlight that like I did the first sentence.

In the statute, it is all one paragraph and for some reason Mr. Patrick seems to think that changes the meaning of the 4 sentences and how they apply.  I disagree, as does the state and other legal minds that have reviewed this. Please review the statute and the full explanation will be provided below.

The facts as they pertain to this statute are the following:

  1. Chris Patrick is the County Board Chairman who has to sign contracts for the County Highway projects.  Those projects involve Federal money that is the responsibility of the state to distribute accordingly as well as to ensure all federal regulations are complied with.  (see Sentence #4)
  2. Zimmerly Ready Mix is owned by Chris Patrick, a supplier of materials to contractors and sub-contractors for projects in this county which either have or may have federal money involved and work performed by the county.

1.33 Conflicts of Interest

No official or employee of a State or any other governmental instrumentality who is authorized in his official capacity to negotiate, make, accept or approve, or to take part in negotiating, making, accepting or approving any contract or subcontract in connection with a project shall have, directly or indirectly, any financial or other personal interest in any such contract or subcontract. No engineer, attorney, appraiser, inspector or other person performing services for a State or a governmental instrumentality in connection with a project shall have, directly or indirectly, a financial or other personal interest, other than his employment or retention by a State or other governmental instrumentality, in any contract or subcontract in connection with such project. No officer or employee of such person retained by a State or other governmental instrumentality shall have, directly or indirectly, any financial or other personal interest in any real property acquired for a project unless such interest is openly disclosed upon the public records of the State highway department and of such other governmental instrumentality, and such officer, employee or person has not participated in such acquisition for and in behalf of the State. It shall be the responsibility of the State to enforce the requirements of this section.

In order to comprehend we must read each sentence and apply the meaning.  Most educators will agree that you don’t take a sentence at the end of a paragraph and apply it the way Mr. Patrick is desperately trying to apply it.

I informed Mr. Patrick that I didn’t highlight that third sentence because it has nothing to do with the Conflict of Interest he is facing.  He disagrees and implied that since that sentence is in the paragraph, he is somehow covered by the portion of the sentence that reference’s real property acquired for a project.  His words were,

 “That’s how I was taught in school”

 My suggestion Mr. Patrick, Go back to School!

Notice the very title of the statute:

Conflicts of Interest – PLURAL- More than One, as in CONFLICTS!

Realizing that they are talking about more than one conflict because they used the plural in the title, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that when you break down the first 3 sentences they are describing three distinct types of conflicts of interest!

 Allow me to explain each Conflict found in the paragraph,

ONE SENTENCE AT A TIME!

 1.  No official or employee of a State or any other governmental instrumentality who is authorized in his official capacity to negotiate, make, accept or approve, or to take part in negotiating, making, accepting or approving any contract or subcontract in connection with a project shall have, directly or indirectly, any financial or other personal interest in any such contract or subcontract

Chris Patrick is the Official in this paragraph who is required to negotiate, make, accept, or approve, or to take part in negotiating, making, accepting, or approving, any contract or subcontract dealing with the County Highway office.  Since he is the Official they are talking about, it is he who cannot have a direct or indirect financial or personal interest in those contracts or subcontracts. 

Since Zimmerly Ready Mix supplies materials to the contractors and/or subcontractors, he is in CONFLICT OF INTEREST as described in the first sentence of the Conflicts of Interest regulation. 

There is no disputing this sentence applies to Chris Patrick, regardless of what he was taught in school!

 

2.   No engineer, attorney, appraiser, inspector or other person performing services for a State or a governmental instrumentality in connection with a project shall have, directly or indirectly, a financial or other personal interest, other than his employment or retention by a State or other governmental instrumentality, in any contract or subcontract in connection with such project.

Since  Chris Patrick is not providing services such as engineering, legal, appraisals, inspecting, etc. this particular defined Conflict of Interest would not apply to him.  The key in this sentence that makes it not applicable is the word “services”.  Mr. Patrick provides material, not services.  Sentence #2 of the Conflicts of Interest Regulations does not apply since Chris Patrick is not an engineer, attorney, appraiser, inspector or other person performing services for a State or governmental instrumentality. Now we believe it applies to his buddy Bob Colvin but we will save that for another article.

 

3.   No officer or employee of such person retained by a State or other governmental instrumentality shall have, directly or indirectly, any financial or other personal interest in any real property acquired for a project unless such interest is openly disclosed upon the public records of the State highway department and of such other governmental instrumentality, and such officer, employee or person has not participated in such acquisition for and in behalf of the State.

This is the sentence that Mr. Patrick is implying somehow allows him to continue in his capacity as County Board Chairman.  I assure you it does not.

Mr. Patrick is not an officer or employee of any person retained by a State or other Governmental  instrumentality.  If he was, the conflict specifically ties to an interest in any real property acquired for a project.  This 3rd Conflict of Interest specifically relates to such an officer, employee or person and the relation to participating in such acquisition for and in behalf of the state, that is the acquisition of real property. 

Mr. Patrick feels this sentence somehow eliminates his conflict of interest entirely because he disclosed Zimmerly Ready Mix, but what he fails to understand is this sentence only outlines the 3rd type of conflict of interest covered in the Federal Regulations.   It does not mean that if you disclose your conflict in this situation it somehow eliminates the other 2 definitions of a Conflict of Interest.

The first 3 sentences in the paragraph spell out a specific conflicts of interest.  Any ONE of the three and you are violating Federal Regulations. 

Mr. Patrick, do the right think and remove yourself from the Conflict.  Either resign from the office of County Board Member/Chairman or eliminate all interest, directly and indirectly in Zimmerly Ready Mix!

However, doing so will not change the apparent violations already committed that were outlined in the article here that clearly exposed what appears to be a clear violation of the state statutes, as they relate to Public Officers Prohibited Activities Act?, Official Misconduct, and the Illinois Government Ethics Act?

The apparent violations of statutes already committed would be a matter for law enforcement and the State’s Attorney.   I suspect Mark Isaf will ask you to resign but I don’t expect him to take on public corruption.

Now, for the final sentence in that statute!

4.  It shall be the responsibility of the State to enforce the requirements of this section.

Shall Be the Responsibility of the State? 

Isn’t the “State’s Attorney” an agent of the State? 

Who will step up and hold this man accountable?  I think its time for people to pick up the phone and demand justice and accountability from their elected officials.

 

And for those interested, feel free to attend the County Airport Meeting Tuesday night, (01/08/2013) at 6pm at the airport!

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