Home News Staff changes for key figures in IT contract controversy

Staff changes for key figures in IT contract controversy

Staff changes for key figures in IT contract controversy

GOSHEN Two prominent figures in the Orange County IT contract dispute, Samantha Sweikata, the commissioner of general services, and Alicia D. Amico, the director of operations, may soon be changing jobs.

According to County Executive Steve Neuhaus, D Amico will retire at the end of the month and Sweikata will be relocated to a role in the county’s economic development office.

Speaking over the phone to Mid-Hudson News on Tuesday from a military posting in Spain, the county executive claimed that the modifications had nothing to do with the IT controversy in which the two ladies gave disparate stories of the vendor choice presented to the special legislative committee.

He said, “I think it’s just that I’m readjusting how the county should be run and making a command decision.” He added that he planned to make several more changes in the coming months.

Along with D Amico’s retirement at the end of the month, according to Neuhaus, Sweikata will be working under Economic Development Director Steve Gross.He claimed that she will be facilitating connections between towns and commercial possibilities.

A special task force tasked with looking into the county’s IT contracts recently produced a report in which D Amico and Sweikata played a key role. The task force was established by the legislature to look into a contract with StarCIO, one of the county’s IT providers. Langdon Chapman, the County Human Resources Commissioner, is the brother-in-law of the business’s owner, Isaac Sacolick. Democrats in the assembly and State Senator James Skoufis sharply criticised the contract after it expanded from $65,000 for two months to over $800,000 over the course of a year.

The task force decided that there was no illegality in the company’s selection; however, the legislature ruled that the contract was obtained improperly and that the contract selection procedure frequently involved shoddy or incomplete paperwork. The report from the legislature was critical of D Amico.

According to the report, this Committee was also worried about the information given to possible vendors before a contract was awarded. Before signing a contract with the vendor, Ms. D Amico gave StarCIO the information technology division metrics of the County. Although she acknowledged that the information shouldn’t be accessible to the general public, she did not respond when questioned about why she gave the information to a vendor that the County did not have an official business relationship with or contract with—at that particular time, the vendor was just a member of the public. The Committee suggests that more caution be used to avoid sending private information in order to get quotations or provide information about services that a vendor could be required to deliver.

The committee concluded that the county’s procurement policy was not followed after addressing concerns regarding the contract’s renewal and payments made in excess of the contract in its report. As the commissioner of General Services, Sweikata was assigned the responsibility of supervising the contract procurement procedure.

According to the study, in this particular case, invoices exceeding the agreed-upon contract amount were paid before a contract extension was in place to approve them. That was not the right situation to approve the payment of those specific invoices. Contract extensions shall be handled in accordance with the procedure specified in the Procurement Policy.

In April 2022, D Amico was appointed director of operations. From 2014 until 2016, she worked as the county executive’s assistant in the office of the county executive. After thereafter, D Amico worked as a deputy commissioner of General Services before making a second appearance in the county executive’s office.

In January 2023, Sweikata was appointed Commissioner of Information Technology and General Services. She served as the department’s deputy commissioner prior to being appointed commissioner.

Calls for comment on Tuesday were not returned by D Amico or Sweikata.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.