3/10/13 EXCLUSIVE: Former IT Employee Files Ethics Complaint Against Town - Salem, NH Patch

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By Jake O'Donne|| Ema|| the author January 31, 2012

A former town information technology employee laid off as a result of 2012 budget reductions wants answers about the process that led to the
outsourcing of his entire department last year.
Anthony Arnold of Salem, who was systems administrator in the four-person Salem lT department from April 2010 through December 2011, filed a
Right-to-Know request with the town on Jan. 4 for documents related to Town Manager Keith Hickey's decision to elminate the lT department and
contract the town's services to Neoscope Technology Solutions of Portsmouth.
After receiving some documents which failed to answer his questions about how Neoscope secured a three-year contract with the town, Arnold
earlier this month filed a formal complaint with the state Executive Branch Ethics Committee (under the state Attorney General's officej and forwarded
his concerns to the Public lntegrity Unit under the Criminal Justice Bureau of the state Attorney General's office.
ln his letter to the ethics committee, Arnold wrote he believed the decision to hire Neoscope was "not done through the normal channels of putting
out a Request for Proposal" and accused Hickey of using a "loophole" to bring in the company.
Additionally, Salem paid Neoscope nearly $150,000 during the last three months of 2011 as it set up its service for the town while, according to
Anthony, not providing lT support.
Hickey and two members of the Board of Selectmen implicated by Arnold, Chairwoman Beth Roth and vice Chairwoman Susan Covey, defended
themselves against Arnold's allegations in interviews with Patch, with Hickey welcoming any investigation into the proceedings.
At the heart of Arnold's claims are allegations about prior relationships between Neoscope and its CEO, Timothy Martin, and both Roth and Covey.
Arnold based his claims on his own research.
Martin did not return a phone message seeking comment for this story.
Hickey said he initially heard concerns about how the town could better utilize technology and a "dissatisfaction" with the town's technological
capabilities while interviewing for the town manager position before starting in March 2011.
EXCLUSlvE: Former lT Employee Files Ethics
Complaint Against Town
Anthony Arnold wants answers about his department's elimination.
Re|ated Top|cs: E||zabeth Roth, Informat|on Techno|ogy, Ke|th H|ckey, Neoscope, Sa|em NH,
Sa|em NH Board of Se|ectmen, Sa|em NH Budget Comm|ttee, Susan Covey, and T|mothy Mart|n
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3/10/13 EXCLUSIVE: Former IT Employee Files Ethics Complaint Against Town - Salem, NH Patch
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"That was an area that was made very clear to me was one of concern that needed to be reviewed in some manner," he said.
Hickey made it known to selectmen in mid-2011 that he wanted to bring in an outside company to study the town's lT infrastructure and develop a
master plan for how the town could improve its overall lT capability.
Hickey said Covey supplied the name and phone number of Martin and his company as one possibility.
Covey said she knew of Neoscope, however, she said the company had never done any work for her or her employer, Enterprise Bank.
"l wouldn't call it a recommendation," Covey said. "lt was a suggestion."
She said discussions regarding Neoscope at the town level did not come up again until Hickey informed the board of the proposal for a new lT
contractor some months later.
ln his investigation, Arnold also discovered a possible connection between Martin and Roth. For several years before becoming the contractor for
Salem, Martin did lT work for the Center for Life Management in Derry, a nonprofit community mental health organization where Roth is a board
member.
Roth said she did not recall ever encountering Martin at a CLM board meeting and had no prior relationship with Martin, professionally or personally.
"l don't know him through Center for Life Management and not on a personal level at all," Roth said. She also said she never made a
recommendation for Neoscope to take over lT services for Salem.
Hickey said he had never worked with Neoscope in any of his previous jobs. He denied that any selectman attempted to use their influence or prior
knowledge in Neoscope's favor.
"All of the selectmen have more integrity than to try and persuade me to hire someone they know professionally," he said.
Hickey said bringing Neoscope in was based on their work on the study of Salem's lT infrastructure.
"The way they put it together, l thought they did a fantastic job," he said. "l thought they were extremely competent and capable of providing a level of
service we need in this community."
Hickey asked Neoscope for a price for what a full lT service contract would cost. He confirmed claims by Arnold that Neoscope had not "done any
specific municipal work before" and that Hickey did not consult with town department heads before making the decision to eliminate the lT
department.
"l felt comfortable in talking to my counterparts in other communities who have outside companies managing their lT departments," Hickey said. "The
amount of money and the scope of work we were asking Neoscope to provide was reasonable."
Neoscope entered into a contract with the town on Oct. 5, 2011. The town will be paying them $20,000 per month to provide lT services to the town
through Dec. 31, 2014. Each side can terminate the contract with either 60 days (townj or 90 days (Neoscopej notice.
Hickey said there was no bid process because "it's professional services and most professional services, by purchasing policy, do not need to go out
to bid."
Salem spent $573,493 on lT in 2011 and the approved Budget Committee 2012 budget to go before voters in March includes $456,629 for lT, a
savings of $116,864.
Purchase order information provided to Patch by Arnold and Hickey shows the town paid $147,495 to Neoscope in 2011 as they set up their town
services and transitioned from the former staff. Hickey said that money ultimately came out of the 2011 lT department budget and other savings.
The purchase orders included services, monitoring licenses, a server, other devices, set-up fees, help desk fees, installation, configuration and
removal of a a different server.
Hickey said Neoscope spent those months exploring the town's lT infrastructure and meeting with town staff to develop the path forward.
"They were trying to plan and utilize the existing knowledge to get started," Hickey said.
Arnold said Neoscope provided "absolutely zero support" for the town between the signing of the contract and the end of the year.
Hickey said the town lT employees were providing the support up through Dec. 31 because "that was their job."
When told of Arnold's claim that the near $150,000 paid to Neoscope were essentially "start-up costs" for the company, Hickey called that assertion
"absolutely false."
"Neoscope was a fully-functioning company when they began here," Hickey said. "He's entitled to his opinion but l'm not going to get into a debate
with him on that."
Arnold criticized the transition and said there was confusion about who employees should contact for lT concerns.
"Up until the last day l was there, department heads were still asking, 'How is it going to work?'" Arnold said. "They still didn't know that."
An e-mail was sent by Neoscope's Russ Harland on Dec. 14 outlining the procedure for all town employees for addressing lT concerns.
"This is two weeks before we're going to disappear forever," said Arnold.
Hickey had a different characterization of the transition, saying it was an overall good experience from his point of view.
3/10/13 EXCLUSIVE: Former IT Employee Files Ethics Complaint Against Town - Salem, NH Patch
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"There were some bumps in the road but l think that for the most part everybody handled it very professionally," he said.
Hickey added that he's received positive feedback from town employees regarding Neoscope and their service. While much support is provided
remotely, he said Neoscope has an employee in Town Hall every day.
Accord|ng to the|r webs|te, the Executive Branch Ethics Committee, under the state Attorney General's office, was estabished in 2006 to "issue
guidelines, interpretive rulings, and advisory opinions relative to standards for ethical conduct in the executive branch and to resolve issues,
questions, or complaints involving executive branch officials who are not classified State employees."
Also, the AG's Pub||c Integr|ty Un|t s|te states their directive is to "prosecute complex theft cases and criminal wrongdoing by public officials."
Arnold himself acknowledged his formal complaints to the state will likely not have much result, but is hopeful his voice will be heard.
"l want people to know that one person can make a difference," Arnold said.
When informed of Arnold's complaint filings, Hickey welcomed any possible investigation.
"l would urge him to go to the Attorney General," Hickey said. "lf he thinks something has been done illegally or inappropriately, take it to the County
Attorney, take it to the Attorney General's office. l'd urge him to do that."
Follow comments Subm|t t|p 13 Comments
Ema|| me updates about th|s story.
Ente| yo0| ema|| add|ess Keep me posted Keep me posted

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Rep|y Rep|y
Bob G
7:02 am on Tuesday, January 31, 2012
This doesn't pass the smell test.
Weren't we told there would be a bidding process on the lT work?
l think this might end being the end to someones career.
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Tom R|ce
7:55 am on Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Great job Anthony it's about time somebody has stood up to these people when the smell test as Bob say's doesn't smell right. l hope the Attorney
Generals office finds sufficent facts to warrant a finding of guilt in this matter and fine or prosecute if something wrong has been done here. Don't
stop now Anthony.
Flag as inappropriate
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Don Duston
8:09 am on Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Sounds like nothing but sour grapes to me. Mr. Arnold would be much better off expending his energy on finding himself a new job. People are
laid off or displaced in their jobs every day, it is not pleasant, but you have to pick up the pieces and move on.
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Tom R|ce
8:21 am on Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Don with do respect this crap has been going on for years here in Salem with backroom deals etc..the problem we have is no one has had the
guts to come forward and challenge the Town and or it's leaders when something shady has happened. To say it's sour grapes etc.. l am glad
you have investigated this and found there was no wrong doing? Give me a break and let the process run it's course and hopefully one of these
three mentioned in Anthonys complaint will get caught with his or her fingers in the cookie jar.
Flag as inappropriate AJ
3/10/13 EXCLUSIVE: Former IT Employee Files Ethics Complaint Against Town - Salem, NH Patch
salem-nh.patch.com/articles/exclusive-former-it-employee-files-ethics-complaint-against-town?logout=true 4/6
Rep|y Rep|y
8:41 am on Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Anthony Arnold Part 1
Finally everyone can hear a full impartial report of what really happened. Thank you Jake; for writing a fair story. My hopes are that the town
residents will read this and decide for themselves if something was wrong maybe even some board of selectmen and budget committee members
will take notice. Who knows maybe they will finally figure that out 2+2=4. l will tell you all that l met with Jake for over 4 hours and gave him so
much information that this is not the end of his reporting on this. Although Beth Roth said she has no professional career with Tim Martin and
Neoscope she has a Nephew that went to school or was friends with Tim Martin on her brother's side for years and they are listed as friends on
Facebook. Did the budget committee and the BOS members know about 150K being spent when they were arguing over how many magazine
subscriptions the town had?
Flag as inappropriate James G|||
2:03 pm on Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Just look at the Budget Board in action, And you have your answer .Not one with the exception of Pat Mc Dougle will ask a question on
saving your tax dollars ,Not one They are get alongs with town spending .
Flag as inappropriate
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AJ
8:42 am on Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Anthony Arnold Part 2
? Living in a professional world outsourcing is the right thing to do sometimes, that is not the case for Salem however. The number one wrong
thing to do is lose control of your company. With no lT staff on hand who is driving the ship for Salem NH? Mr. Hickey has given the keys of Salem
NH to a contractor who's only business is to sell and charge the town money. Who will sit down with staff and discuss purchasing needs and
order equipment a town employee, or a contractor that will benefit from the sale or one of his partners? The town reduced the purchasing agent
to part time so how available will he be to look for pricing on new equipment. l wonder if Mr. Hickey realizes it is a misdemeanor to not fully reply
to a Right to Know Request. l don't doubt his intelligence however the request did say all personal and town e-mails and those seemed to be not
included, especially when all the e-mail to Tim Martin where from his personal e-mail account and not the town of Salem's. How many other
things could he be hiding? Well fellow Salem residents you decide and let them know when you vote.
Anthony Arnold
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Don Duston
10:29 am on Tuesday, January 31, 2012
lf something was done inappropriately the Attorney General will take action, that is a big lF though. Sounds to me like the Town Manager was
within the scope of his job not to bid this out as it was for professional services, if this is true then l don't see a problem, if it had to be bid out then
that is a different story. Outsourcing is a fact of life these days, every company/organization is out to save a buck. They could care less about the
impact to those laid off. lt is a fact of life in the 2000's, deal with it.
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Tom R|ce
11:07 am on Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Anthony if the Personal emails were not included in your right to know, push that lssue and force him to release them to you. Now the Ag's office
will find some way to Justify Mr. Hickey's action's even if they were wrong, watch.
Flag as inappropriate
Rep|y Rep|y
AJ
12:02 pm on Tuesday, January 31, 2012
l will make a second request along with a request for all the extra stuff the town has purchased since my last request from Neoscope. On a side
note when the TM started he did not want to use a town issued blackberry he wanted an lPhone. We told him that the town needed to invest in
updated software to secure an lPhone. We gave him the estimated cost and because we said no, he hired a company to as he put it audit the
town. Next thing the dept was eliminated and the lT dept. never saw the magical report that was produced. l ran the report based on the data that
Neoscope used and l could have made Microsoft look bad with all the inaccuracies that were in it. Also if the TM had a problem with the
technology after 4 months in office maybe he should have just asked the dept. what we were doing. lnstead he wanted to bypass the whole
budget process and spend funds immediately with no questions asked under °Professional Services" Maybe he should have gave the lT Staff the
150K and he would have gotten his lPhone sooner.
3/10/13 EXCLUSIVE: Former IT Employee Files Ethics Complaint Against Town - Salem, NH Patch
salem-nh.patch.com/articles/exclusive-former-it-employee-files-ethics-complaint-against-town?logout=true 5/6
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James G|||
1:59 pm on Tuesday, January 31, 2012
From what was said here .Mr Hickey ,Roth .Covey .There names seam to come up as the main actors here ,My Question is Where are the othere
Selectmen in this action ? l thought the board did not act alone ?
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AJ
2:35 pm on Tuesday, January 31, 2012
l don't think the other members of the BOS knew anything other than the town was outsourcing to save money. l'm sure if they knew it would
have a 150K upfront cost then 240K with countless additions needed so a vendor could run the town remotely they may have voted differently. l
also don't think since Beth Roth was the budget committee representative for the BOS that they knew anything either.
As the smell test goes, why would Tim Martin contact Susan Covey if he had no professional or business contact with her when Beth's family
member went to school with Tim Martin and she knew he worked at the Center for Life Management? Maybe to avoid any public connection prior
them getting the contract until after the fact? With Salem's budget tight why would the town manager jump at the first offer from a company with
no municipal experience whose without price shopping to see what the costs would in tale before signing a 3 year contract and eliminating all the
lT Staff so there would be no way for the town to take over again without a substantial cost of hiring a whole new lT staff? Neoscope has made
some changes with their web site to show a more dedicated larger than actuality company profile. l guess 100K will help you do a lot these days,
they did spend 50K on actual stuff even though the town had a server and the Operating system sitting on the shelf but you can' t make a profit
without selling anything and charging 4K to install it.
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James G|||
7:59 pm on Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Roth ( Chair j , Pointed out that the Board of Selectmen does not act alone as one member ,But as a body of 5 members .Remember Pat
Hargraves with the tree trimming . that was pointed out ,He could not act alone in any way ,So my point is Question all on that board of Selectmen
,
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3/10/13 EXCLUSIVE: Former IT Employee Files Ethics Complaint Against Town - Salem, NH Patch
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