Southern Software NOW donating services to Moore County

 

A well-placed source within Moore County government tells me that Southern Software — the Southern Pines-based developer of county public safety’s administrative software package — is officially out of the county budget.  The company had been paid approximately $24,000 per year to maintain their software installed on the county network and to support county employees using the software package.

Critics have cried foul about the payments because Commissioners Nick Picerno and Larry Caddell each serve on the company’s board. (Picerno founded the company.)

My source says the move was strongly encouraged and supported by Caddell and Picerno.  Southern Software does millions of dollars in business nationwide.  $24,000 from Moore County was not a make-or-break deal for the company.  Southern Software will continue its work with Moore County free-of-charge.

My source says this scenario will remain in place for as long as either Caddell or Picerno serves as a Moore County commissioner AND has a professional tie to Southern Software.  It’s not unusual to pay software companies for support. Intuit charges for support of Quickbooks.  Apple charges for support of their products (more than one year past the date or purchase).  It MAKES SENSE to have Southern Software support their product. What doesn’t make sense is smearing a company JUST for the sake of scoring  few political points.

19 thoughts on “Southern Software NOW donating services to Moore County

  1. You ‘Social Bloggers’ may want to forget about reading this. Chitchat can be had elsewhere. Those of you who care about the law and legal ethics in NC read on;

    138A 36. Public servant participation in official actions.
    (a) Except as permitted by subsection (d) of this section and under G.S. 138A 38, no public servant acting in that capacity, authorized to perform an official action requiring the exercise of discretion, shall participate in an official action by the employing entity if the public servant knows the public servant or a person with which the public servant is associated may incur a reasonably foreseeable financial benefit from the matter under consideration, which financial benefit would impair the public servant’s independence of judgment or from which it could reasonably be inferred that the financial benefit would influence the public servant’s participation in the official action.
    (b) A public servant described in subsection (a) of this section shall abstain from taking any verbal or written action in furtherance of the official action. The public servant shall submit in writing to the employing entity the reasons for the abstention. When the employing entity is a board, the abstention shall be recorded in the employing entity’s minutes.
    (c) A public servant shall take appropriate steps, under the particular circumstances and considering the type of proceeding involved, to remove himself or herself to the extent necessary, to protect the public interest and comply with this Chapter, from any proceeding in which the public servant’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned due to the public servant’s familial, personal, or financial relationship with a participant in the proceeding. A participant includes (i) an owner, shareholder, partner, member or manager of a limited liability company, employee, agent, officer, or director of a business, organization, or group involved in the proceeding, or (ii) an organization or group that has petitioned for rule making or has some specific, unique, and substantial interest in the proceeding. Proceedings include quasi judicial proceedings and quasi legislative proceedings. A personal relationship includes one in a leadership or policy making position in a business, organization, or group.
    (d) If a public servant is uncertain about whether the relationship described in subsection (c) of this section justifies removing the public servant from the proceeding under subsection (c) of this section, the public servant shall disclose the relationship to the individual presiding over the proceeding and seek appropriate guidance. The presiding officer, in consultation with legal counsel if necessary, shall then determine the extent to which the public servant will be permitted to participate. If the affected public servant is the individual presiding, then the vice chair or any other substitute presiding officer shall make the determination. A good faith determination under this subsection of the allowable degree of participation by a public servant is presumptively valid and only subject to review under G.S. 138A 12 upon a clear and convincing showing of mistake, fraud, abuse of discretion, or willful disregard of this Chapter.
    (e) This section shall not allow participation in an official action prohibited by G.S. 14 234. (2006 201, s. 1; 2007 347, s. 12; 2007 348, s. 42; 2008 213, s. 84(a).)

    Read G.S. 14-234

    § 14 234. Public officers or employees benefiting from public contracts; exceptions.
    (a) (1) No public officer or employee who is involved in making or administering a contract on behalf of a public agency may derive a direct benefit from the contract except as provided in this section, or as otherwise allowed by law.
    (2) A public officer or employee who will derive a direct benefit from a contract with the public agency he or she serves, but who is not involved in making or administering the contract, shall not attempt to influence any other person who is involved in making or administering the contract.
    (3) No public officer or employee may solicit or receive any gift, favor, reward, service, or promise of reward, including a promise of future employment, in exchange for recommending, influencing, or attempting to influence the award of a contract by the public agency he or she serves.
    (a1) For purposes of this section:
    (1) As used in this section, the term “public officer” means an individual who is elected or appointed to serve or represent a public agency, other than an employee or independent contractor of a public agency.
    (2) A public officer or employee is involved in administering a contract if he or she oversees the performance of the contract or has authority to make decisions regarding the contract or to interpret the contract.
    (3) A public officer or employee is involved in making a contract if he or she participates in the development of specifications or terms or in the preparation or award of the contract. A public officer is also involved in making a contract if the board, commission, or other body of which he or she is a member takes action on the contract, whether or not the public officer actually participates in that action, unless the contract is approved under an exception to this section under which the public officer is allowed to benefit and is prohibited from voting.
    (4) A public officer or employee derives a direct benefit from a contract if the person or his or her spouse: (i) has more than a ten percent (10%) ownership or other interest in an entity that is a party to the contract; (ii) derives any income or commission directly from the contract; or (iii) acquires property under the contract.
    (5) A public officer or employee is not involved in making or administering a contract solely because of the performance of ministerial duties related to the contract.
    (b) Subdivision (a)(1) of this section does not apply to any of the following:
    (1) Any contract between a public agency and a bank, banking institution, savings and loan association, or with a public utility regulated under the provisions of Chapter 62 of the General Statutes.
    (2) An interest in property conveyed by an officer or employee of a public agency under a judgment, including a consent judgment, entered by a superior court judge in a condemnation proceeding initiated by the public agency.
    (3) Any employment relationship between a public agency and the spouse of a public officer of the agency.
    (4) Remuneration from a public agency for services, facilities, or supplies furnished directly to needy individuals by a public officer or employee of the agency under any program of direct public assistance being rendered under the laws of this State or the United States to needy persons administered in whole or in part by the agency if: (i) the programs of public assistance to needy persons are open to general participation on a nondiscriminatory basis to the practitioners of any given profession, professions or occupation; (ii) neither the agency nor any of its employees or agents, have control over who, among licensed or qualified providers, shall be selected by the beneficiaries of the assistance; (iii) the remuneration for the services, facilities or supplies are in the same amount as would be paid to any other provider; and (iv) although the public officer or employee may participate in making determinations of eligibility of needy persons to receive the assistance, he or she takes no part in approving his or her own bill or claim for remuneration.
    (b1) No public officer who will derive a direct benefit from a contract entered into under subsection (b) of this section may deliberate or vote on the contract or attempt to influence any other person who is involved in making or administering the contract.
    (c) through (d) Repealed by Session Laws 2001 409, s. 1, effective July 1, 2002.
    (d1) Subdivision (a)(1) of this section does not apply to (i) any elected official or person appointed to fill an elective office of a village, town, or city having a population of no more than 15,000 according to the most recent official federal census, (ii) any elected official or person appointed to fill an elective office of a county within which there is located no village, town, or city with a population of more than 15,000 according to the most recent official federal census, (iii) any elected official or person appointed to fill an elective office on a city board of education in a city having a population of no more than 15,000 according to the most recent official federal census, (iv) any elected official or person appointed to fill an elective office as a member of a county board of education in a county within which there is located no village, town or city with a population of more than 15,000 according to the most recent official federal census, (v) any physician, pharmacist, dentist, optometrist, veterinarian, or nurse appointed to a county social services board, local health board, or area mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse board serving one or more counties within which there is located no village, town, or city with a population of more than 15,000 according to the most recent official federal census, and (vi) any member of the board of directors of a public hospital if all of the following apply:
    (1) The undertaking or contract or series of undertakings or contracts between the village, town, city, county, county social services board, county or city board of education, local health board or area mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse board, or public hospital and one of its officials is approved by specific resolution of the governing body adopted in an open and public meeting, and recorded in its minutes and the amount does not exceed twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) for medically related services and forty thousand dollars ($40,000) for other goods or services within a 12 month period.

    Now, read Moore County BOC Minutes from Dec 13, 2007

    Moore County Board of Commissioners
    Work Session
    December 13, 2007
    Historic Courthouse, Conference Room

    The Moore County Board of Commissioners held a Special Work Session at 1:00
    p.m. on Thursday, December 13, 2007 in the Commissioners’ Meeting Room, Second
    Floor, Historic Courthouse in Carthage, North Carolina.

    Commissioners Present: Colin W. McKenzie, Jr., Chairman
    Jimmy Melton, Vice Chairman
    Robert T. Lea, Member
    Larry Caddell, Member
    Cindy Morgan, Member

    Board Members Absent: None

    Staff Members Present: T. Cary McSwain, County Manager
    Misty Randall Leland, County Attorney
    Megan Owrey, Clerk to the Board
    Cheryl Zielsdorf, Deputy Clerk to the Board
    Scot Brooks, Public Safety Director
    Neil Godfrey, Chief Deputy, Sheriff s Dept.
    Dennis Brobst, Public Works Director
    Lisa Hughes, Finance Director

    A. Water Study
    Dennis Brobst, Public Works Director, introduced the representatives from………

    B. Dormie Club
    Dennis Brobst, Public Works Director, indicated that the Donnie Club agreement……

    C. Southern Software
    Neil Godfrey, Chief Deputy of the Sheriffs Department, detailed Southern
    Software’s offer to donate a computer aided dispatch system to Moore County. Mr.
    Godfrey detailed the department’s previous software packages and the numerous
    shortcomings to the previous packages, which included numerous missing modules as
    follows: sex offender, pistols permit, concealed weapons, and evidence inventory. It also
    did not interface with the current CAD system. A mobile module was also not present.

    The goal beginning in 2003 was to update the records management system, which
    included adding the missing modules. After contacting their current provider, OSSI, they
    received cost estimates for the updates, which were several thousand dollars per module.

    A proposal was made by Southern Software to provide the following: sex
    offender registration module, evidence module, pistol permit module, conceal to carry
    permit module, six test licenses, replace records management system at the jail and
    convert all existing OSSI data to compatible data. This was all provided at no cost to the
    County. The only requirement was that the maintenance fee originally being paid to
    OSSI be paid to Southern Software.

    A CAD system assists the dispatchers in dispatching emergency resources to the
    scene of emergency instances and locating the exact address of these incidents. It also
    provides management tools and activity analysis of the call volume, which allows extra
    personnel to be added during peak call times.

    Moore County is currently using an older version of the system, which does not
    provide them with all the services they need. Most importantly, the CAD does not
    interface with the sheriff’s office records management system, which is important for
    officer safety as well as EMS and fire personnel safety.

    The options are as follows: keep the current interact CAD as is; keep current
    interact CAD system and purchase the necessary upgrades, which will still not interface
    with the Sheriff’s Office records management system; purchase a new CAD system from
    another vendor that does not interface; or accept offer from Southern Software for the
    donation of a new CAD system, which has been used by the Sheriff’s Office since
    August 1, 2007 on a trial basis.. The Sheriff recommends accepting the software donation
    from Southern Software.

    Nick Picerno, Chairman and founder of Southern Software, stated that he is from
    Carthage and that his company employs approximately fifty-two employees, which are
    primarily Moore County employees. He believes this is an excellent opportunity to give
    back to the community. Additionally, the records management package was also donated
    to the Sheriff’s Office.

    Commissioner Lea commended Mr. Picerno on the donations he and his company
    have made to the County. Commissioner Lea clarified that the issue is not with the
    donation itself but rather that Commissioner Caddell, who is associated with Southern
    Software, cannot exceed the statutory limit of $25,000 within a twelve-month period.
    Furthermore, Commissioner Lea read the following portion from the Resolution
    Regarding the Donation of Software from Southern Software to be Utilized by Moore
    County Public Safety: “Whereas, Commissioner Caddell cannot and will not vote on the
    passage or denial of this Resolution pursuant to N.C.G.S. 14-234 and other applicable
    laws…”

    Commissioner Lea asked if Commissioner Caddell would be able to vote or not
    vote for the budget as a whole due to the fact that the donation items will be included in
    the entire budget due to the possible perception of a conflict.

    The County Attorney, Misty Randall Leland, stated that the state statute does not
    prohibit Commissioner Caddell from voting on the budget as a whole. County Manager
    Cary McSwain reminded the Board that they voted on a budget ordinance that includes
    fund amounts, not particular line items of the budget.

    Commissioner Lea read the following portion directly from the Resolution
    Regarding the Donation of Software from Southern Software to be Utilized by Moore
    County Public Safety: “…they cannot and will not use the County of Moore as a
    reference site, demonstration site, and/or beta test site for any software derived from
    Southern Software, so long as the above-referenced statute remains applicable. Further,
    it is the full understanding of the Board of Commissioners and Commissioner Caddell, as
    well as Southern Software, that there may be value attached to a reference site,
    demonstration site and/or beta test site and the values of such sites have yet to be
    established; and whereas, although Southern Software desires to make a strict donation to
    the County, parenthetically the North Carolina General Statute 14-234 permits, under
    limited conditions, Commissioner Caddell to be a owner of Southern Software, and
    Southern Software to do some business with the County as long as N.C.G.S. 14-234 is
    not violated.”

    Commissioner Lea asked the County Attorney if she believed this statement
    protected the County from any liability by the above referenced language being
    incorporated into the document. Ms. Leland indicated that she believed the County was
    protected in the sense that the only liability the statute references is voided contracts, etc.
    If the statute is violated, Commissioner Caddell could be charged and convicted with a
    misdemeanor. Ms. Leland stated that there could be some value attached to the donations
    and the problem is determining the value.

    BOTTOM LINE: What is the ‘value’ of Larry Caddell’s ‘donation’ to the county for each of the years since the original $350,000 value of his services that he declared was given beginning in July 2007?

    If it exceeds $40,000 annually, somebody needs to call Raleigh and have it investigated. The County Attorney has a problem determining its value but there are those in Raleigh who would be glad to help her out.

  2. David, I have personally explained this to you. The county never paid Southern more than the amount you show above that is allowed $40,000 per yer. The county was prohibited from being used as a reference site, a test site nor any other way that value could be derived. As chairman of Southern Software we prohibited any employee from using the county in any way under threat of termination. This notice is still posted at Southern Software and remains in effect. Knowing you to be an intelligent person, you must know the $24,002 paid to Southern Does Not Exceed the $40,000 allowed under the statute you posted above.

    1. Refer to County Attorney Misty Leland’s statement “Ms. Leland stated that there could be some value attached to the donations
      and the problem is determining the value.” That is what will bring this house of cards down. Larry Caddell publicly stated that SS donated $350,000 worth of equipment from his company to Moore County and the value of the donations is what concerned Ms. Leland at the time in 2007. If she only knew that $350,000 figure then, we would not be here today.

  3. I think you are confused. It’s not the value to the county that is the question, but the value that it may be to commissioner Caddell who is an owner. It does not matter the value of the donation only if their is some undetermined value back to Southern, which both the county and Southern prohibit from happening.

    1. Correction: It ‘is’ the value to the county ($350,000)that is in question.

      For you, as President of Southern Software, Inc. and Larry Caddell (a sitting Moore County Commissioner) to offer the Sheriff of Moore County $350,000 worth of Southern Software equipment for “free” in July 2007 (without the knowledge of the ‘full’ BOC at that time), then once the Sheriff accepted your ‘gift’, having Southern Software install it and make it operational on August 1, 2007 in place of the existing contract supplier (OSSI), and finally coming forward to the full Board of Commissioners with the “Whereas this, Whereas that, Whereas the other thing….” document 6 months later to try to make this whole thing not stink of “conflict of interest” or worse, and to now tell me the $350,000 value of your ‘donation’ does not matter shows a serious lack of understanding of the issue of ‘conflict of interest’.

      Again, I refer you to the statement by your own Moore County Attorney cited in my previous post above in the minutes of the BOC meeting on Dec 13, 2007, at which both you and Commissioner Caddell were present, when she addressed this specific issue of ‘value’;

      “….. Ms. Leland indicated that she believed the County was protected in the sense that the only liability the statute references is voided contracts, etc. If the statute is violated, Commissioner Caddell could be charged and convicted with a misdemeanor. Ms. Leland stated that there could be some value attached to the donations and the problem is determining the value.”

      You may not think the ‘value’ is important, but she obviously did then (as any attorney would) and I assume she still does today. The really troubling thing, considering her statement back then, is that you were present in the room and Commissioner Caddell was sitting on the commissioners platform, both of you listening to her express her legal concern about the value of the ‘donations’, all the while the two of you knowing that your company had already installed $350,000 worth of ‘free’ Southern Software in the Sheriff’s office without any BOC approval whatsoever.

      At this point, I should give some references to publications and documents that show the common understanding about ‘conflict of interest’ in the general society. Firstly, here is a paragraph from The American Architect, Volume 115, page 368;

      #11. On Offering Services Gratuitously

      “The seeking out of a possible client” – (Moore County Sheriff) – “and the offering to him of professional services” – (“A proposal was made by Southern Software to provide the following: sex offender registration module, evidence module, pistol permit module, conceal to carry permit module, six test licenses, replace records management system at the jail and convert all existing OSSI {the existing provider} data to compatible data. This was all provided at no cost to the County.”–Neil Godfrey, Chief Deputy of Moore County Sheriff’s Department, Dec 13, 2007, BOC minutes.) – “on approval and without compensation,” – ($350,000 ‘free’ Southern Software equipment, as later publicly stated by Larry Caddell) – “unless warranted by personal or previous business relations, tends to lower the dignity and standing of the profession, and is to be condemned.”

      “The offering to a possible client of professional services on approval and without compensation tends to lower the dignity and standing of the profession, and is unethical and unbusinesslike.”

      Secondly, from the Enclyclopedia of Business, 2nd ed. on Conflict of Interest;

      Encyclopedia of Business, 2nd ed.
      Reference for Business » Encyclopedia of Business, 2nd ed. » Clo-Con » Conflict of Interest

      CONFLICT OF INTEREST

      “Conflicts of interest for individuals and organizations are not uncommon given the multitude of transactions and relationships that occur in politics, government, industry, science, commerce, research, education, and the professions. A conflict of interest arises from a connection between two or more individuals or organizations, or between an individual and an organization. It is a relationship, not an action.”

      DEFINITIONS AND PERTINENT ASSUMPTIONS

      “Black’s Law Dictionary describes conflict of interest as being in connection with “public officials and fiduciaries and their relationship to matters of private interest or gain to them” in situations where regard for one duty tends to lead to disregard of another. The term “private interest” would mean any tangible benefit accruing directly to the one with a conflict of interest, or indirectly through associates, related organizations, friends, or family members. Tangible benefits can include, for example, direct financial rewards, improved employment, social positioning, public recognition, advocacy and publicity, business referrals, or political influence.”

      “John R. Boatright, in his essay entitled

      “Conflict of Interest: An Agency Analysis,”

      expanded the definition beyond public officials and fiduciaries to all “agency” relationships (e.g., doctor-patient, lawyer-client, employee-employer) where the agent has the duty and obligation to act in the best interest of a principal. Boatright’s definition applies to organizations acting as agents or principals, as well as to individuals. The first type of conflict of interest exists when agent A’s private interest is in conflict with B’s best interest, and A, as B’s agent, has an obligation and duty to act in principal B’s best interest. The second type of conflict of interest occurs if agent C has a dual obligation to act in the best interest of two different parties, D and E, but C’s obligation to principal D conflicts with C’s obligation to principal E. (An obvious example would be agent C representing both D and E on opposing sides in the same dispute.) When C has no agency relationship and no duty to either D or E, then the interests of those two parties are simply competing interests, not a conflict of interest.
      When conflicting interests have the potential to interfere with the duty, that condition is sufficient to create a conflict of interest, by definition. Actual interference with the duty through self-dealing need not occur. Moreover, the conflicting interest does not need to directly affect the principal for a conflict of interest to exist. Abuse of position through self-dealing or use of confidential information for personal advantage can exploit a conflict of interest without having any affect on the principal. For example, an “insider” trading and profiting based on privileged information does not harm the company whose securities are being traded.”

      “Boatright stated, ‘To exploit an agency relation for personal gain is to violate the bond of trust that is an essential part of the relation.’ Thus, conflict of interest and bribery become intertwined. When an agent accepts a tangible benefit, a “bribe,” from a third party, but does nothing in return for the favor, the agent can be said to have a conflict of interest. But when the agent returns the favor, violating the principal’s trust, the agent can be charged with bribery.”

      **Read more: Conflict of Interest – duties, benefits http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/encyclopedia/Clo-Con/Conflict-of-Interest.html#ixzz1hSXZtu3E

      The link above will further give you many more pages about ‘conflict of interest’ and might help your understanding on the subject.

      Thirdly, I have pasted the pertinent parts of a professional organization’s Code of Ethics and left a ‘fill in the blank’ space for you to put in yourself and your organization and see if there could be a public perception problem for you.

      CODE OF ETHICS
      NSPE Code of Ethics for ________________

      Preamble
      As members of this profession, ___________ are expected to exhibit the highest standards of honesty and integrity. Accordingly, the services provided by ________________ require honesty, impartiality, fairness, and equity, and must be dedicated to the protection of the public health, safety, and welfare. ______________ must perform under a standard of professional behavior that requires adherence to the highest principles of ethical conduct.

      I. Fundamental Canons
      ___________________, in the fulfillment of their professional duties, shall:

      II. Rules of Practice
      1. _______________ shall avoid deceptive acts.

      2. ________________ shall not offer, give, solicit, or receive, either directly or indirectly, any contribution to influence the award of a contract by public authority, or which may be reasonably construed by the public as having the effect or intent of influencing the awarding of a contract. They shall not offer any gift or other valuable consideration in order to secure work. They shall not pay a commission, percentage, or brokerage fee in order to secure work, except to a bona fide employee or bona fide established commercial or marketing agencies retained by them.

      III. Professional Obligations
      1. _____________ shall be guided in all their relations by the highest standards of honesty and integrity.
      2. ______________ shall avoid the use of statements containing a material misrepresentation of fact or omitting a material fact.
      3. _________________ shall not be influenced in their professional duties by conflicting interests.

      The above parts of the document is a section of the Code Of Ethics that guides the National Society of Professional Engineers.

      There are many more examples of this on the Internet under Code of Ethics, but this should give you enough understanding of why my position on this matter is completely opposite of yours.

      1. I am confused with your comments David. I am a Moore County taxpayer as well. This is a recap of the ramifications of what you are saying.

        1) Moore County should not use Southern Software software because Commissioner Caddell is part owner of the company and Commissioner Picerno is on the board.
        2) We would then have to go out and purchase at least $350,000 worth of software to replace the old OSSI system and the Southern Software system, which will come directly out of our pockets as taxpayers???

        Look, I don’t care if he owns 100% of the company. There are many owners in politics that give back to their home towns and / or counties. Have you ever read The Pilot newspaper? Commissioner Caddell and many others have done these sorts of things for years. This software is obviously something that fits the sheriff’s office’s needs and saves us a LOT of money in a terrible economy. The only thing you have done is tried to make something unethical that, if the county attorney really thought was wrong, would not have allowed to go through. I wish you would put this much effort into helping our county as much as you are trying to hurt it. There have been many political attacks on the commissioners that are GIVING their services to the county to help all of us taxpayers out. Why don’t you try GIVING, instead of trying to take what we have that is working fine? Please think about what you are doing as your attempts to hurt two politicians that are giving to us is hurting us taxpayers. You want to talk about ethics? Slandering someone and falsely accusing them is not ethical.

        1. @Moore County Taxpayer “I am confused with your comments David.”

          Obviously, sir, you are entering this long term ongoing discussion a day late (over a year, to be precise) and a dollar short ($350,000 to be exact). I suspect that you have missed most of the hundreds of thousands of words that have been posted on this subject by myself and others in The Pilot and elsewhere since the Summer of 2010 when Chairman Picerno looked out over an assembled multitude of other Moore County Citizens (just as honorable as yourself) who were urgently pleading with him, Larry Caddell and Jimmy Melton to give them their ancient right to vote and having him tell them ‘No’ to their faces at that BOC meeting called to decide whether or not to obligate all of us and our children with $52,000,000+ of bond debt, most of which is going to that monstrous Federal Sized Detention Center going up right now in Carthage. For the citizens (in their financial self interest) to vote the bond down was not in their self interest. For them to unilaterally obligate the county for this Federal Sized Detention Center was certainly in their long range self interest.

          I have 5000+ pages of documents (#1.) BOC minutes from 2003 to 2010, (#2.) many Pilot articles related to Nick Picerno, Larry Caddell, Southern Software, etc (#3.) my own personal copy of the multiple phase Governmental Building Feasibility Study (2003 Phase I to 2006 Phase II) that was originally commissioned by the BOC long before the appearance of the TPo3 (Picerno {Dec 2008}, Caddell {Dec 2006}, Melton) and their county manager mouth piece, ex-County Detention Center Administrator T. Cary McSwain {Oct 2006} who was the Administrator of the Richmond County, SC Detention Center for 12 years just prior to being hired by Moore County, (#4.)public record documents relating to T. Cary’s tenure in Richmond County (Columbia, SC) from 1994 to 2006 as well as other odds and ends related to the timeline of events that have resulted in the situation that we have before us today.

          All the parties involved (excluding yourself, obviously) have talked publicly or privately among themselves about how we got to where we are now and I think we all realize that we can’t undo what we have at this late date. My point is that the results of the process that has transpired all along the way shouts “self interest” to two of our elected officials who are responsible for the direction Moore County has gone in the last 5 years; (#1.)$350,000 “gift” to Sheriff’s Office then asking BOC approval of contract, (#2)ultimately scrapping the BOC commissioned Governmental Building Preliminary Plans for Carriage Oaks location (approved in late 2006) and guiding us to this vast Federal Sized Detention Center Plan ($30 – $40 million in 2010) without a vote by concerned citizens, of course, to be run with no-bid Southern Software in Downtown Carthage.

          I suggest you go back and read the entire minutes of the BOC Dec 13, 2007 meeting closely and see the tortured process that Picerno, Caddell, McSwain and Leland went through to get a document that would keep Caddell from violating the law. Obviously, they were successful and just look at the benefits we have today from that crowd;

          #1) No long sought Governmental Building for the long suffering employees of Moore County,

          #2) No right to vote on whether or not to saddle Moore County with $52,000,000 of bond debt, payable by all of us into the next generation,

          #3) Huge Federal Sized Detention Center that far exceeds local needs, but will be in absolute demand from other county, state and frderal agencies for decades to come.

          In the Dec 13, 2007 minutes, there is a key phrase that seems to plan ahead for the final outcome of this whole process; ““…they cannot and will not use the County of Moore as a reference site, demonstration site, and/or beta test site for any software derived from Southern Software, so long as the above-referenced statute remains applicable.”

          Southern Software will not use this $30 – $40 million Detention Center as a “reference site”, demonstration site”, or “beta test site”, so long as the above-referenced statute remains applicable. However, as soon as Nick Picerno and Larry Caddell move on to greener pastures, the legal green light will be shining brightly for Southern Software to gas up the tour bus and bring ’em in by the busloads from all over the country to see what a great system they have built here in little Carthage, NC.

          Quite a brilliant turn of events from 2006 to 2011, don’t you think? Are you really a taxpayer, or are you just a Johnny come lately “poser”? Where were you when this crowd was fleecing us for $52,000,000+ by picking up the phone and “Dialing for Dollars” while us poor dumb dumb voters followed the Governmental Commissions rules in writing. We didn’t know that T. Cary McSwain could just pick up the phone and make it happen until he proudly came out of the phone conference and told us it was a done deal.

          You go ahead and bemoan the cost to the taxpayers of $350,000 if we dare to get rid of this type of self interest that is going on in Moore County and wishing to start over with some kind of above board, honorable bidding for services process. They are already laughing all the way to the $52,000,000 bank with all the county taxes that you will ever pay for the rest of your days in Moore County, Waldo. I bet you sleep well, too. Go back to bed.

          1. So first of all, you didn’t answer my question. Should we bumb the Southern Software software and purchase new software from another company?

            Secondly, are you listening to yourself so much you start believing what you are saying to get attention on yourself, which is very obviously what you are doing. They are building a jail and sheriff’s office, which already uses Southern Software software. There will be no additional purchases of software for this site.

            Secondly, have you ever looked on their site? They have over 300 customers in this state alone. Many of their customers are much larger than Moore County and they can use them as references if common sense plays a part, which is how most of us work. Their software working in a big or small jail is the same software. I don’t believe this company is banking on this new jail being built so they can have one more reference of over, what looks like almost a thousand customers, they have so far.

            So, where is the self interest in this David? They don’t sell Jail beds, buildings or commisaries. They sell software. I am still waiting for answers, which you or no one else can seem to must an answer for. What self interest is being served? If you can’t answer that, just tell me. Don’t put forth a novel of information that doesn’t state the answer.

  4. David ~ postings by others reflect more defensive posturing as two years ago. Tucows has “free” software as well as Avast virus software. As with any product, there is no value unless one is willing to pay the price for that product. Most “free” software or products come with a subliminal price for upgrades and service. In the case of Southerns’ donation came service charges of $24,000. a year in maintenance fees and upgrades.Through legislation from “friendly” Representatives in Raleigh, the amount a sitting commissioner can receive from self-interests was raised to $40,000.

    According to a former employee of Southern Software who now lives in Charlotte, the Sheriffs’ department was used to BETA test the software as opposed to having in-house BETA testing which would have added to the R&D costs.

    I find it ironic that Brant doesn’t reflect on the no-bid software for Municipal Software that was purchased by the county without outside bids. I also find it ironic that Larry Caddell, Nick Picerno, and Jimmie Melton all supported the 52.3 million dollar bond that included water infrastructure for Pinehurst, Carthage … lines run all the way to Little River where the Town of Carthage purchased the golf course after satellite annexation. Could that move by SS, Inc. set the wheels in motion for advancing remote meter reading software for SS, Inc. I think so…hard to deal with facts unless those who claim to read and understand the hoodwinking going on in Carthage writes what they are told.

  5. OK, Tommy. I did invite you over here. But I am starting to regret it. Rule #1 over here is to not call the host names, or lie about or slander HIM or anyone else on the site.

    Your posting would be better if you considered the following:

    1) Your “source.” You cite an unnamed former sheriff’s office employee when discussing the internal operations of Southern Software. How credible could this “source” be about SS’s internal ops? That’s like taking MY word on the internal workings of the sheriff’s office. I haven’t worked there. How would I know?

    2) The whole water meter reading thing: From reading your friend Florence’s report, it appears that SS pitched in to help the county FIX a problem with this other company’s hardware and software. Do you know something different? If so, call Ms. Gilkeson and let her know. Let me know too — with SOME EVIDENCE.

    3) From all I’ve seen and read, SS’s package got rave reviews from the sheriff’s office. From all I’ve seen, the taxpayers got an unbeatable deal. Do you know of another company that offers something of similar or better quality, with the same specs, that meets the county’s needs at a better price? If so, tell me WHO.

    4) Bidding: Not everything is required to be bid out. The limit for politicians USED to be $25,000 and is now $40,000. (Moore County was never in violation.) Are you SERIOUSLY suggesting that Southern Software is SO powerful that they can force the NCGA to CHANGE state law on a whim? For $24,000 in revenue from Moore County? If you want to raise cain about no-bid services, look at architecture and engineering. THOSE are NOT required to be bid out, thanks to great lobbying in Raleigh by the architects. The cost of a project is determined during design, NOT construction. Architects get a percentage of the total project cost. So, there is no incentive to control costs. I’ll rant with you on that one.

    5. Has Tim Lea EVER made a mistake or done something wrong? It’s interesting that you perpetually rant against the same three guys he HATES.

  6. ” Rule #1 over here is to not call the host names, or lie about or slander HIM or anyone else on the site.”
    It’s your rant and not mine…Did I call you a name other than Brant?

    “You cite an unnamed former sheriff’s office employee” Wrong again! A former employee of Southern Software, Inc. Who left because, in his words, “they were cheap”….No where have I ever said anything about a former sheriff’s office employee.

    “From reading your friend Florence’s report, it appears that SS pitched in to help the county FIX a problem with this other company’s hardware and software.”
    Hot off the press ~ (and by the way I don’t know Florence, nor have I ever met her. More of your gibberish.)
    Interface with multiple Hand Held Meter Reading devices from Southern Software’s website, http://www.southernsoftware.com/fms-overview/…Interface pal, means software that enables SS’s software to interface with meter readers software. Any how it was never bid out because the President and CEO are on the Board of Commissioners.

    “the taxpayers got an unbeatable deal” I call it hoodwinked! Now the taxpayers and county is stuck with their software like it or not. Cost of replacement would be in the thousands … GOT CHA’
    The Town of Southern Pines didn’t purchase there software…and their buddy former Chief Gerald Galloway was Chief! That should tell you something….

    ” Bidding: Not everything is required to be bid out. The limit for politicians USED to be $25,000 and is now $40,000. (Moore County was never in violation.)” You are a day late and a couple years short. This was discussed in detail with links. SS has flown just under the radar to keep them from being charged. Article 4.
    Ethical Standards for Covered Persons.
    § 138A?31. Use of public position for private gain.
    § 138A?36. Public servant participation in official actions.

    (c) A public servant shall take appropriate steps, under the particular circumstances and considering the type of proceeding involved, to remove himself or herself to the extent necessary, to protect the public interest and comply with this Chapter, from any proceeding in which the public servant’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned due to the public servant’s familial, personal, or financial relationship with a participant in the proceeding. A participant includes (i) an owner, shareholder, partner, member or manager of a limited liability company, employee, agent, officer, or director of a business, organization, or group involved in the proceeding, or (ii) an organization or group that has petitioned for rule making or has some specific, unique, and substantial interest in the proceeding. Proceedings include quasi?judicial proceedings and quasi?legislative proceedings. A personal relationship includes one in a leadership or policy?making position in a business, organization, or group.

    North Carolina General Statutes § 138A-15 Duties of heads of State agencies

    “(d) The head of each State agency, including the chair of each board subject to this Chapter, shall periodically remind public servants under that individual’s authority of the public servant’s duties to the public under the ethical standards and rules of conduct in this Chapter, including the duty of each public servant to continually monitor, evaluate, and manage the public servant’s personal, financial, and professional affairs to ensure the absence of conflicts of interest.

    (e) At the beginning of any meeting of a board, the chair shall remind all members of their duty to avoid conflicts of interest under this Chapter. The chair also shall inquire as to whether there is any known conflict of interest with respect to any matters coming before the board at that time.”
    Not one but two members of the board are in conflict with state law. Now Caddell is Chairman. Talking about conflict of interest….

    “Bidding: Not everything is required to be bid out.” nor is required to allow those who pay the bills to vote either. They do the same thing in North Korea. A few think for the many.

    “5. Has Tim Lea EVER made a mistake or done something wrong?” I couldn’t tell you what Tim Lea has or hasn’t done. You are the one who brought it up on your biased website. FYI Pal, Never met Tim Lea in person or otherwise. I access public information through the county website or contact staff. If you have a bone to pick with Tim Lea, I suggest giving him a call. You must be talking about TPO-3 (The Power of Three)Melton votes like Caddell tells him to, and Craig Kennedy votes the way Nick tells him to. So, It’s now the Power of Four ~ TPO-4….

  7. 14?234. Public officers or employees benefiting from public contracts
    (d1) Subdivision (a)(1) of this section does not apply to (i) any elected official or person appointed to fill an elective office of a village, town, or city having a population of no more than 15,000 according to the most recent official federal census, (ii) any elected official or person appointed to fill an elective office of a county within which there is located no village, town, or city with a population of more than 15,000 according to the most recent official federal census, (iii) any elected official or person appointed to fill an elective office on a city board of education in a city having a population of no more than 15,000 according to the most recent official federal census, (iv) any elected official or person appointed to fill an elective office as a member of a county board of education in a county within which there is located no village, town or city with a population of more than 15,000 according to the most recent official federal census, (v) any physician, pharmacist, dentist, optometrist, veterinarian, or nurse appointed to a county social services board, local health board, or area mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse board serving one or more counties within which there is located no village, town, or city with a population of more than 15,000 according to the most recent official federal census, and (vi) any member of the board of directors of a public hospital if all of the following apply:
    (1) The undertaking or contract or series of undertakings or contracts between the village, town, city, county, county social services board, county or city board of education, local health board or area mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse board, or public hospital and one of its officials is approved by specific resolution of the governing body adopted in an open and public meeting, and recorded in its minutes and the amount does not exceed twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) for medically related services and forty thousand dollars ($40,000) for other goods or services within a 12?month period.
    (2) The official entering into the contract with the unit or agency does not participate in any way or vote.
    (3) The total annual amount of contracts with each official, shall be specifically noted in the audited annual financial statement of the village, town, city, or county.
    (4) The governing board of any village, town, city, county, county social services board, county or city board of education, local health board, area mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse board, or public hospital which contracts with any of the officials of their governmental unit shall post in a conspicuous place in its village, town, or city hall, or courthouse, as the case may be, a list of all such officials with whom such contracts have been made, briefly describing the subject matter of the undertakings or contracts and showing their total amounts; this list shall cover the preceding 12 months and shall be brought up?to?date at least quarterly.

    (4) A public officer or employee derives a direct benefit from a contract if the person or his or her spouse: (i) has more than a ten percent (10%) ownership or other interest in an entity that is a party to the contract; (ii) derives any income or commission directly from the contract; or (iii) acquires property under the contract.

    (b1) No public officer who will derive a direct benefit from a contract entered into under subsection (b) of this section may deliberate or vote on the contract or attempt to influence any other person who is involved in making or administering the contract.

    Commissioners Picerno and Caddell have invested interest in Southern Software, Inc. Commissioner Picerno is the President and derives benefits through health insurance and company profits. Commissioner Caddell is CEO and derives direct compensation from Southern Software. Inc. That my friend is conflict of interest!

    Just because they are flying just under the legal radar; nevertheless, creates a conflict of interest and doesn’t perpetuate congruence when it comes to public trust.

  8. Nick

    Why were Southern Software Employees helping out with Jimmy Melton’s Campaign like with Signs etc back in 2006?

  9. Nick,

    Do you know how many people that do not live in Carthage see the new Jail being built and their mouth just opens in disbelief. I was riding with my mom today and when she looked at the new Jail being built she said “That is not a jail thats Central Prison in Carthage” What I do not understand is why Larry a man from the small country town of Carthage would vote on something like that in the city limits of downtown Carthage instead of putting it some place else.

  10. I cannot believe that Larry Caddell put Southern Software’s number on the County website for Commisioners. You try to contact him and the answer you get is he has not been around for awhile. It does not make sense to have a person in public office and you cannot contact them or atleast someone who can answer questions about his stance on certain issues.

  11. Ok this post is more relative to the topic of this discussion. I know someone at Southern Software and found out that the company lost 1.2 million dollars in 2010. They do not have the debt paid off yet when Nick turned the company over to Larry Caddell and the Employees. Each employee gets shares for the number of years they work there, which ranges from 20% of the stock you have for two years to 100% for six years of Employment. When the 1.2 million dollars got lost the Employer of the ‘Employee Owned Company’ put 600,000 dollars toward the debt. I am not sure if Employer is Larry Caddell or the Southern Software Board. The company does business with the county 911 center, Sheriff’s Department, and the Detention Center. What confuses me is who are they getting the 24,000 dollar payments from? The company also does business with every town police department and municapality besides Southern Pines. I believe that there should be more transparacy about Southern Software because they are a government contractor for our local governments in Moore County. You also have to consider that Larry Caddell was the Mayor of Carthage through 2006 and Lisa Caddell was a commissioner for Carthage. So, my question is who gets billed for support? That is really something that the Pilot missed in their stories. If the Sheriff’s Department is getting Software for free it would not make sense to go with another vendor or contractor; however, ethics should be applied for the ‘Conflicts of Interest.’

    1. Correction above the company lost ~1.3 million dollars.~ 600,000 was put toward the debt by the Employer leaving a loss of ~ 700,000.

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