Category Archives: conflict of interest

Open Letter to Township Committee – 13 Oct 2006: Middletown Township Committee Must Address Appearance of Conflict of Interest Issue

While campaigning for Township Committee back in 2006, then Democratic Candidate Patrick Short sent a letter to Mayor Tom Hall and the rest of the Middletown Township Committee expressing his concerns over the inappropriate public contract that was handed to Sodon Electric Inc. and it’s owner Republican candidate for Township Committee Tim Sodon.
In his letter that you can read below, Short pointed out that Sodon had received over $92,000 for services performed from Dec.2005 thru Sept, 2006 while doing electrical work for the Township. A lot of the electrical work at the time that he did was for maintaining Park and Recreation facilities and other Municipal buildings. At the time of this letter, Sodon was also a member of the Recreation Advisory Board and could direct work to his company when needed.

Today Tim Sodon is the electrical contractor in town by resolution and gets all the work. As a sitting member of the Middletown Planning Board, applicants before the Board have his ear and could inappropriately direct electrical work his way, if they thought that it would improve their chances of having a project approved, as one of the commenter to a previous post pointed out.

The bottom line is, if you are an elected or appointed official in any capacity whatsoever, you should not be contracting service and making a living off the people that you are suppose to be representing. It is inappropriate, a clear conflict of interest and unethical.
If Tony Fiore and his ilk wish to force out Library Board President Randall Gabrielan over some book sale than they should also be ready to ask Tim Sodon to step down from the Planning Board due to his public, no-bid contract for electrical services that he currently holds here in Middletown.
Open Letter to Middletown Township Committee

To: Mayor, Middletown Township
From: Patrick Short

13 October 2006

Subject: Middletown Township Committee Must Address Appearance of Conflict of Interest Issue

I was surprised to find and disappointed to learn that the “Good ‘O Boy” and even Pay for Play may still be active and taking place in Middletown. Despite steps taken to remove this type of conduct in Monmouth County and in Middletown, I do not understand why the Township Committee would permit the appearance of this unacceptable practice to take place.

The relationship between the Parks and Recreation Department and Sodon Electric Inc. may be an example of this impropriety. In the past 10 months, the town has paid Sodon Electric Inc. a total of $92,072.26 for services’ performed from December 2005 through September 2006. This has occurred while the principal partner of Sodon Electric Inc., Mr. Timothy Sodon, is the Republican Party Candidate seeking a seat on the Township Committee; the same committee that approves payment to Sodon Electric Inc. as a contractor in our town. Mr. Sodon is also the chairman of the Recreation Advisory Board; a board that influences projects performed for the Parks and Recreation Department. Any electrical maintenance service that is performed, it is done by Sodon Electric Inc. Most troubling is the fact that payment to Sodon Electric Inc for services performed has more than tripled since Mr. Sodon became the Republican Party candidate and a member and chairman of the Recreation Advisory Board.

Mr. Sodon will have to decide whether he wants to remain a contractor who provides a service to the town or whether he wants to be Committee member, if elected, who approves contractors and the work that they perform within the town. Doing both promotes the appearance of a conflict.

However, it is the responsibility of the Township Committee to ensure that conflict of interest or the appearance thereof does not take place. And if it does, action should immediately be taken to remedy the situation. Our town ought to be viewed as a town that treats all contractors/vendors fairly, impartially, and in the best interest of the tax payer. Our town ought not to be viewed as a town that selects a contractor/vendor off a “Good O Boy” list or because it is an insider to the Republican Party.

I would hope that the Township Committee would view this situation from the eyes of the other twenty-seven (27) electric companies in our town that may want to do business in Middletown. These electrical companies must have confidence that they will not be excluded from doing work in Middletown if they do not subscribe to political patronage. Rather, they subscribe to a high ethical standard and provide quality of service at a cost that is in the best interest of the Middletown taxpayer.

To demonstrate that the Township Committee embraces these principles, I recommend the Township Committee remedy this situation by taking the following steps:

  1. Establish a policy to prohibit any elected and/or appointed official from performing contractual work in the township and any contractor/vendor from being an elected and/or appointed official.
  2. Replace Mr. Sodon as a member/chairperson of the Recreation Advisory Board.
  3. Place an immediate “Stop Work” on all work currently being performed by Sodon Electric Inc.
  4. Re-Issue a Request for Proposal Competitive Bid for electrical maintenance services performed in the Township of Middletown.

Respectfully,

Patrick Short

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Filed under conflict of interest, Middletown Planning Board, Middletown Township Committee, open letter, Patrick Short, Recreation Advisory Board, Sodon Electric, Tim Sodon, unethical behavior

Middletown Planning Board Member Who Receives Lucrative Contracts From The Township Seems Unethical To Me

When Middletown helps its own, it’s not in reference to helping needy families get through the holidays. It’s in reference to taking care of those most politically connected to the local Republican Party.

Tim Sodon, who was a candidate for Township Committee in 2007 but lost the election to Patrick Short, has for the past few of years been a member of the Middletown Planning Board. Sodon came under heavy fire in 2007 for being a contractor for the Township while also being a member of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. As a member of the advisory board, among other things, he would recommend what Township Parks needed electrical maintenance or upgrades performed. Tim Sodon is the owner of Sodon Electric Inc., he was the contractor that would get the work and perform the work.
During the campaign Sodon and the Republican Party couldn’t or wouldn’t explain why this wasn’t a conflict of interest and clearly unethical. Sodon never came out and said that if elected he would give up the contracts he had with the Township.
Now fast forward to more recent times, as an appointed member of the planning board, Sodon is a public official and currently has a very lucrative contract with Middletown to provide electrical repairs and maintenance needed throughout the Township’s Municipal buildings and parks that pays him $75K a year according to Township Resolution 12-061.
This to me is clearly a conflict of interest and unethical. He shouldn’t be allowed to do work for the town while he sits on the Planning Board. A contractor for the town should not be in any appointed positions.
Tim Sodon shouldn’t be doing electrical projects for the town, those projects should be bid out and basic electrical maintenance should be done in-house by someone who has a license.
As the Mayor’s Designee to the Planning Board is Tim Sodon making decisions based on the on the merits of the presentations that are brought in front of the Planning Board, or is he making decisions based on what is expected of him by the Mayor or higher ups in the Middletown GOP in order to keep his tax payer funded contracts?
Before looking at the Library Board for inappropriate and unethical behavior of one of its members, I think Tony Fiore and the Township Committee should be looking a little closer to home at one of their own before casting the first stone. Unfortunately though that will never happen, Middletown Republicans by nature are arrogant and never look into the mirror at themselves beforehand. They are only interested in protecting their own.

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Filed under conflict of interest, Middletown GOP, Middletown Planning Board, Parks and Recreation, public contracts, resolution 12-061, Sodon Electric, Tony Fiore, unethical behavior