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NJ School Construction Boss: “We’re Doing Better” [AUDIO]

For years, the New Jersey Schools Development Authority has come under fire for wasting significant amounts of money while struggling to complete school construction projects in many of the state’s poorest areas, but the head of the SBA insists things are changing in a meaningful way.

School Construction
Flickr User davef3138

“We’ve reduced our staff to under 250 employees, we’re doing more with less, and we’ve reduced our budget by over $16 million,” Authority CEO Marc Larkins told a subcommittee in Trenton.

He told members of the panel right now there are 30 Capital projects in the SDA portfolio, and 10 of them have already seen some construction activity.

Larkins also said while productivity is up, contractor complaints are down, in large measure because an invoice review unit has been created, “which essentially makes sure that when invoices are submitted to the organization, there’s one central point of review.”

He stressed the focus of the SDA is to move forward smartly, deliberately, making sure projects are done quickly but done right.

While members of the subcommittee mostly praised the reform efforts that have taken place over the past few years, some complained that school construction is still taking too long, and the Co-Chair of the Committee, State Senator Ron Rice, told Larkins the SDA finances are confusing and difficult to understand.

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