Panel Questions Transparency
A panel of New Jersey lawmakers used a portion of their agenda to question a member of the state treasurer's office on the lack of progress with a Sandy-related measure signed into law more than a year ago.
The law, requiring the implementation of integrity monitors on Sandy contracts valued at more than $5 million, also called for quarterly reports, but not one status update has been received yet.
David Ridolfino, associate deputy state treasurer, told the Assembly State and Local Government Committee that the first round of reports are due July 1, and they will encompass findings from Jan. 1 to Mar. 31 of this year.
"Because many of these projects are in their early stages, the bulk of the oversight work for many of these monitors still lies ahead," Ridolfino said, after explaining the lengthy process of creating a "pool" of eligible monitors.
To date, the treasurer's office has assigned eight monitors to multiple Sandy-related contracts valued at a total of approximately $359 million. Multiple monitors are expected to be awarded in the next few weeks for New Jersey Transit projects totaling nearly $450 million.
Asw. Linda Stender (D-Scotch Plains), chair of the panel, said slow implementation of the law may result in a lack of transparency on millions of federal Sandy dollars spent last year.
"We've had no reports for the work that was done," Stender said.
She also criticized the lack of a spot online where New Jersey residents can easily learn more about contracts that take from the $1.8 billion in federal funding.
"We have a public who doesn't have a lot of confidence in what government does and how they do it," she said. "The more transparency that we can have, I think, the more confidence we can have. It would be good for all of us."