SCCC report: A Lack of Character
For more than a month Sussex County residents have been reading a slowly unraveling serial about corruption in their county. Along with millions of taxpayer dollars, the credibility of Sussex County Community College (SCCC) is at stake.
The story reads like a mystery novel: Corporations with hidden relationships with people in power. Shadow entities through which government contracts flow. The highly respected college "trustee" and bigwig in the Sussex County Republican Party who swore he didn't know that his vote had anything to do with sending taxpayers' money to a company that paid him, then swore that he didn't take money from that company, then admitted that he did take money, then offered no plausible explanation on why he hadn't reported his relationship on state ethics forms as required by law.
Why did it happen? Why us? Why Sussex County?
Towards the end of its 25-page report released to the public today, the law firm hired by the SCCC to investigate itself made this stunning finding:
" After speaking with each of the three Trustees who had relationships with CP, it became apparent that none of them recognized or appreciated what the College's Ethics Code or New Jersey law required of them when votes relating to CP came before the College's Board. Rather than making full disclosure to all members of the Board of their relationships with CP, the three Trustees did not disclose their various relationships with CP and merely abstained or, in some instances, voted on these matters."
Those in question are lawyers and law-makers. These are highly successful men who know their way around board rooms, court rooms, and the halls of power. Are we really being asked to believe that these people do not understand right from wrong?
Who doesn't understand that it is wrong to take money from a vendor that wants a contract from a unit of government you exercise control over? And if you have a doubt, you bring it up and ask your fellow board members about it. You don't lie by omission in the hope that nobody will notice.
Either Sussex County is unique in that some of its most prominent citizens do not understand right from wrong or we have people of such character that they refuse to recognize right from wrong.
The issue is character.
Listen below to the U.S. Naval Academy's ethics instructor on the importance of character.
If you want to read the full report, please follow this link: http://www.njherald.com/link/710372/investigative-report-re-bidding-process-for-sccc-building-d