ROCKVILLE – Some civic activists say they are concerned about the The city’s chief of inspection services, a longtime fire officer throughout the state, who has a second job as a legal services and fire consultant. But city leaders say the outside employment does not constitute a conflict of interest.
The city approved Raymond O’Brocki’s secondary employment on April 18, 2014, for night and weekend work less than 10 hours per week. The website for his company, Raymond O’Brocki Legal and Fire Consulting LLC, says he will come to customers and lists his cellphone number as the best contact number.
The secondary employment approval also specifies that O’Brocki will not represent anyone who lives, works or does business in Rockville.
O’Brocki said he primarily helps elderly people in his neighborhood with estates and wills, which he does after hours on nights and weekends. He lives in Baltimore, and so his legal and fire consulting business takes place there so as not to conflict with Rockville’s interests. He said he has had roughly 15 legal clients and two fire consulting calls since he started with Rockville.
“I go to their house. They appreciate that they don’t have to go to an office … and I do it nights and weekends,” O’Brocki said. “It’s almost laughable that anybody would have an issue … I’ve done so few I turned a loss last year.”
O’Brocki said he also had initially signed some documents and emails with the designation of “esquire” after his name, but stopped when the city attorney told him it could give people the wrong impression.
“It was for a very short period of time,” he said. “I concurred with her opinion, and I removed it from my email signature. And. after the date we had our discussion, I never used it after that.”
The city hired O’Brocki in August of 2013 to replace Courtney Morgan, who filed a suit against the city alleging the city fired him in March 2012 because of racial discrimination. The suit has since been dismissed.
O’Brocki said some people might have brought up the secondary employment because he has tried to make changes since he took over, trying to speed up the plan review process.
“I’m going to continue to hold the people in ISD (inspection services division) accountable. They do a great job, but we can always do better. Like I said, sometimes people just aren’t on board with the new guy, new plan,” O’Brocki said.
Admitted to the Maryland Bar in December 2013, O’Brocki remains in good standing but does not have any active cases listed in Maryland Judiciary Case Search as an attorney or in a database for civil cases, LegalWho.com. He said he does not do any litigating or cases that go to court.
Secondary employment is allowed in the city’s personnel policies available online as long as “such employment or activities do not conflict with regular employment with the City of Rockville Government or affect the employee’s mental or physical ability to perform normal duties in an acceptable manner.” The manual also says that there can be no conflict of interest with the city; the employee may not use city-owned tools, equipment, vehicles or materials; and the employees may not solicit or perform work for their secondary jobs during the hours they work for the city.
O’Brocki is the only one overseeing a division in a city department to have an approved secondary employment.
O’Brocki receives $540 for his phone allowance and a salary of $104,040 for the city, according to an April 2015 listing of all the city salaries. He said he always answers his personal cellphone because he uses it for city business as well as his legal and consulting business.
He said he is considering no longer doing the second job once his malpractice insurance runs out later this year, because it is not profitable.