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Sandy Oversight Concerns Addressed by NJ Panel

New Jersey lawmakers learned on Monday that despite a March 2013 law requiring independent integrity monitors on large Sandy-related projects, they won’t get their first status update from the monitors until this summer.

Damage From Hurricane Sandy
Mark Wilson, Getty Images

An Assembly committee held a hearing in Trenton concerning the implementation of Sandy oversight on projects valued at more than $5 million. The committee heard testimony that detailed the lengthy process of forming a monitor pool, and the research that goes into each proposed project.

According to the law, monitors are to issue quarterly reports detailing the previous three months’ work. However, a member of the treasurer’s office explained that no monitor was “on the job” until earlier this year.

“We anticipate receiving the first round of quarterly reports from the integrity monitors on or before July 1, 2014,” David Ridolfino, associate deputy state treasurer, told the panel. “The initial quarterly reports will address activities undertaken by the monitors in the time period between January 1st and March 31st.”

In the meantime, the law requires that integrity monitors immediately report any findings of likely criminal violations to the necessary state agencies.

“The administration was slow to implement the law, transparency promises have been broken, information is being presented to the public in a confusing way, reports are overdue and many questions about Sandy relief funding and whether it’s been used properly remain unanswered,” said Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D-Union) following the hearing.

Stender said she’d use Monday’s testimony as she determines her panel’s “next steps.”

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