Conflict of Interest?

Post
FriedTater
Cheeseburger
2012/04/02 20:39:03
A health inspector is also a caterer, and does special events and festivals. Is that a conflict of interest? Already been told by 2 people it is, was wanting to get opionions from this group. Thanks/
lornaschinske
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Conflict of Interest? 2012/04/02 21:11:28
Yes. I think so. So does he inspect himself? I think it would also be a conflict of interest if a family member was working as a caterer and he was the inspector.
Dr of BBQ
Filet Mignon
Re:Conflict of Interest? 2012/04/02 21:20:29
He certainly has an advantage when he gets a call for catering and tells the customer he is a HD inspector. Come to think of it same thing at an event. It sucks I wouldn't like to compete with him or her.
CCinNJ
Sirloin
Re:Conflict of Interest? 2012/04/02 23:02:50
I think so.

Especially since the usual threshold is not directly engaging in any secondary activity of employment that has the potential or opportunity to conflict or interfere with a primary official capacity of employment...as a government employee who has the responsibility of enforcement in the same field. The threshold is usually not if/when a conflict exists...just the potential of a conflict to exist within such activity.

I object...your Honor!
DWags541
Cheeseburger
Re:Conflict of Interest? 2012/04/02 23:42:29
I don't think so.
 
Vendors have relationships with the Health Department in my experience. Sure, the event coordinates with the Health Dept so they know to come out, and there might be sanitation issues regarding bathrooms and such, but then again, there might not. I don't think there is any incentive for an event to choose a vendor because they are affiliated with the Health Dept.
Now, if the vendor/HD inspector was wearing two hats at the same festival, that might be kind of strange. If there is any evidence that said HD is holding others to a higher standard than he holds himself, then that could warrant some investigating.
 
I would say more common conflict of interest offenses would be if a festival organizer was also trying to operate as a food booth. They have an opportunity to see what works over the years, and capitalize on it if they want.
 
Health Dept guys never ask me about how much I make, or seem even remotely interested in how much food I am selling. The only reason they care about what I am selling, and how, is to do their job, and keep people safe.
 
Maybe the relationship that me and my peers have had with our HD is different than some of those who think this connection is inappropriate. I personally do not see how I would be threatened by a vendor/HD inspector.
Dr of BBQ
Filet Mignon
Re:Conflict of Interest? 2012/04/03 01:15:46
"I would say more common conflict of interest offenses would be if a festival organizer was also trying to operate as a food booth. They have an opportunity to see what works over the years, and capitalize on it if they want."
 
LOL It's there event and they have a right to vend it if they choose. That is not a conflict of interest.
 
And CC is correct it offers the opportunity to conflict or interfere with their official job, or others from the same office. May be straight arrow but I wouldn't like it.
CCinNJ
Sirloin
Re:Conflict of Interest? 2012/04/03 01:46:38
It also is the part-time peer (in their own business) working with those that they may also inspect...that can easily interfere with their full-time official position.

All those potential birthday parties for restaurant owners with no budgets. You name it caterer!! Wink wink. Lol

Someone who does not agree with their own inspection or might try to question another inspection can then try to claim that the inspector should recuse themself due to outside working or personal relationships with what is now peers in another business atmosphere unrelated to their official capacity.
DWags541
Cheeseburger
Re:Conflict of Interest? 2012/04/03 02:05:21
"Look how much money that coffee vendor made last year, we should just do all the coffee/drink vending this year."
That kind of mentality, whether or not it is justified, is relatively common among event organizers and to me comes off as a little unethical. The conflict of interest part comes in when they are privy to info that other competing vendors or perspective members would not be. Then using that to compete with you or cut you out of the scenario.
I haven't seen anyone come up with how a vendor that is also a HD inspector is going to create an unfair scenario to other vendors with their proposed influence. If anything they could be helpful in keeping things legit and safe for the public.
 
Like I said, maybe there are some vendors that have a severe distrust of HD types, public authorities, regulations, etc. And with a "they are out to get me" attitude, I am sure you can see the dark side of this. I don't.
CCinNJ
Sirloin
Re:Conflict of Interest? 2012/04/03 02:30:18
Justified or not is sort of an opinion based on your own feelings...as well.

But that is not potential conflict of interest of anyone in an official government capacity.

Nobody said get them fired. Just that it is reasonable that there could be a possible potential conflict of interest. That was the question. There certainly could be. Nobody here determines that one way or another.

Even if you really like the inspector and never had any issue. What happens if that is the case and someone else has an bone to pick? That would not be good either.

Foodbme
Porterhouse
Re:Conflict of Interest? 2012/04/03 03:44:36
The potential for abuse is present therefore it's a conflict of interest.
From The NM Statute:
An organization, and any employee of an organization receiving public monies provided by the State of New Mexico owes a duty to the State and its citizens to act in their interest when carrying out the duties associated with such funding. A Conflict of Interest exists when the employee (or organization) has some personal kinship, friendship, financial or political interest that may cause the employee (or organization) to place personal and/or organizational interests above this duty.  Favored treatment, misuse and abuse of public resources are what can result when the legitimate goals and objectives of an organization are compromised for the benefit of a chosen few.  
pnwchef
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Conflict of Interest? 2012/04/03 10:07:33
Only if it was called County Health Dept/Joes catering co..........if the Health insp works his job in the day time and has  aside business as a caterer, that S/B fine. Joe would have to follow all the rules like everyone else. Just because Joe is a health insp, doesn't mean Joe knows squat about making food. Worry about your own food, down worry about what the health insp is doing. If it's a conflict, let the Country worry about it........pnwc
CCinNJ
Sirloin
Re:Conflict of Interest? 2012/04/03 16:29:20
The rules that apply for the Statute that Foodbme posted does not have to rise to the level of "innocent until proven guilty" of anything. It simply has to reach "just cause"

At the very least when you think that this could be a conflict of interest and you feel like nothing is what you are going to do...fine. It is not a legal obligation to report. But while doing nothing...go out of your way to really do nothing in the most formal way you can... so there will be no questions at the door of your business if it is a conflict of interest.

That is why it is good to know. Run like hell and never shoot the **** about it.
Foodbme
Porterhouse
Re:Conflict of Interest? 2012/04/03 17:22:50
Scenario:
Let's say the HD guy is going to do an event and is also inspecting other vendors at the same event. He disallows several vendors who he considers competition. DEFINITELY conflict of interest.
Scenario #2:
HD guy is doing an event. Another inspector is doing the inspections and disallows the competing vendors. Conflict of Interest?? Hard to prove. Maybe yes, maybe no??
CCinNJ
Sirloin
Re:Conflict of Interest? 2012/04/03 17:44:49
I would say in those scenarios the health inspector that just has to do his/her job while trying to navigate that potential headache and judgement (even if 100% valid to the letter) would be in a very very unfair position.

DWags541
Cheeseburger
Re:Conflict of Interest? 2012/04/03 22:39:42
Foodbme

Scenario:
Let's say the HD guy is going to do an event and is also inspecting other vendors at the same event. He disallows several vendors who he considers competition. DEFINITELY conflict of interest.
Scenario #2:
HD guy is doing an event. Another inspector is doing the inspections and disallows the competing vendors. Conflict of Interest?? Hard to prove. Maybe yes, maybe no??

 
In my 6 years of experience at festivals, I have never seen a booth shut down by a HD inspector. They will ask you to comply and basically, you do. Even if you have to run to the store to get bleach, a thermometer, whatever. In fact, unless you are a certified mobile unit, which is permitted on an annual basis, you need to turn in an application to be a "Temporary Restaurant". That is how they know who you are and what you are selling before hand.
The only way I would figure they'd "disallow" a vendor is if they didn't file the paperwork beforehand (expecting to slip by w/o paying the fee) and didn't have a legit setup at the event.
In my experiences, HD inspectors are easy to work with as long as you don't come off as trying to pull a fast one on them. If you are trying to comply, even if you are lacking in some areas, they are generally very pleasant and helpful.
CCinNJ
Sirloin
Re:Conflict of Interest? 2012/04/03 23:14:43
They are all peaches & cream...here in the land of milk & honey. Lol

http://www.northjersey.co...ng_bribe.html?mobile=1
FriedTater
Cheeseburger
Re:Conflict of Interest? 2012/04/04 09:18:27
Dwags, your right. In 12 years I can`t remember a HD shutting anyone down.
 
I thank you all for your replies. Interesting discussion.
Foodbme
Porterhouse
Re:Conflict of Interest? 2012/04/04 17:21:29
CCinNJ
They are all peaches & cream...here in the land of milk & honey. Lol
http://www.northjersey.co...ng_bribe.html?mobile=1

The guy's name says it all --- Moochi???
He was caught Mooching on the job!
CCinNJ
Sirloin
Re:Conflict of Interest? 2012/04/04 17:52:04
Benefit of the doubt went poof...when our birth certificates became invalid due to the disgraceful amount of corruption in Jersey CIty.
jcheese
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Conflict of Interest? 2012/04/04 20:28:30
I see lotsa potential for corruption. If he's competing, he can say " Oh, I inspected them once, they were filthy"........
CCinNJ
Sirloin
Re:Conflict of Interest? 2012/04/05 00:30:41
If the Coroner decided to pick up a little extra business with warm bodies...I would hold on to my tonsils.
Bistro a go-go
Cheeseburger
Re:Conflict of Interest? 2012/04/05 17:30:27
i wonder what score he puts on his own inspections report?
 
Hmmm? just had an idea, get a part time job in the inspections dept at health dept long enough to approve both my trucks without a commisary,...
 
naw, forget it, i couldnt be that big of a jerk. (every had a nice inspector? laughing)
Dr of BBQ
Filet Mignon
Re:Conflict of Interest? 2012/04/05 17:39:40
All of my local inspectors have been very good to work with. I did have a GMF at an event 3 years ago different county, and she wrote a letter to my health department about me. It seems with both thought the same about each other LOL. My local HD thought it was funny and said they had heard about her before and just forget about it. I just heard this year she finally retired.
jack
brickboo
Cheeseburger
Re:Conflict of Interest? 2012/08/19 14:51:05
Fried Tater,
 
PM will not even allow me to answer your PM question. Ha ha! Trying to communicate on this forum is as bad if not worst than dealing with the Health Department. WOW. Maybe I can put my email here so that you can email me about what you want to know. We will see! brickboo2 @ yahoo dot com
Sorry,
Anthony B. Hargis Jr,
970 260 5694
I'm not running from the law, ha ha! Or anybody else, I guarantee!!! If you can't email me, give me a call. I like people. Even Cajuns. Ha ha! They aren't paranoid!
post edited by brickboo - 2012/08/19 14:57:59