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Rice Calls On Inspector General To Not Be A Barrier To Construction

TRENTON – Senator Ronald L. Rice released the following statement today after hearing testimony from John F. Spencer, CEO of the New Jersey Schools Construction Corporation (SCC), to address critical issues facing the State’s school construction program.

Mr. Spencer sat before the committee to clarify how the program is being managed.

“It is critical that current construction continues in order to uphold a State Supreme Court mandate that requires that Abbot schools receive adequate school facility construction.

“After hearing from Mr. Spencer, I feel that more discussion is needed to be sure that the investigation into the SCC by Inspector General Mary Jane Cooper is not a barrier for continuing the constructions of area schools.

“I plan to speak with both the Inspector General, and Acting Governor Codey in order to address my concerns that the investigation by the Inspector General’s office does not impede the momentum of school construction.

“It’s important that we do not slow the process any further, because our local contractors will soon feel the negative impact of layoffs if we continue to halt school construction.

“When awarding contracts, the SCC has been inclusive towards small businesses and those owned by women and minorities, but the same people we are trying to help through these initiatives will be out of work if we hold up the design and building phases any longer.

“It’s necessary to look into the SCC to be sure that every dollar is spent efficiently, but we must make certain that the investigation does not slow the process to where we are counter productive.”