Says if Governor Doesn’t Reply Within 30 Days, Will Seek Review from State Auditor
TRENTON – Citing ongoing economic problems and a lack of official state oversight and follow-up, Senator Ronald L. Rice has introduced a Senate Resolution urging Governor Christie to request that the State Comptroller conduct a performance audit of the City of Newark, and failing that, that the State Auditor undertake an audit within 30 days after Senate approval of the resolution.
“For years, I’ve been urging the State to take a look at the operations of Newark city government, and make sure that the substantial investment made by the State of New Jersey was being spent effectively and efficiently for the people of the city,” said Senator Rice, D-Essex. “Under Governor Corzine, DCA (the Department of Community Affairs) conducted an audit which revealed serious issues and improprieties, but to date, there has been no follow-up to make sure those issues have been addressed. I urge Governor Christie to stand by his own call for transparency and oversight of local spending and support a complete performance audit of Newark.”
The resolution, SR-204, which was formally introduced on Monday, respectfully urges Governor Christie to request that State Comptroller Matthew Boxer conduct a performance audit of Newark in order to uncover mismanagement, fraud, waste and abuse of public dollars by the city or any related local public or quasi-public entities, such as the Newark Housing Authority and the now-defunct Downtown Core Redevelopment Corporation, which has recently been connected with investigations into pay-to-play and no-bid contracts within the city.
The resolution stipulates that if the audit isn’t commenced within 30 days after passage of the resolution, the State Auditor shall undertake an audit with the aid of the State Comptroller as provided under current statute. The intent of the audit is to make sure that the limited resources allocated to Newark by the State are being efficiently and effectively used to address the core challenges facing the city.
“Newark is facing a crisis in terms of high crime rates, urban blight and prolonged and sustained poverty, and every last cent of city spending – whether it comes from local taxpayers or the State of New Jersey – has to be accounted for,” said Senator Rice. “Unfortunately, we’ve seen instances in the recent past in which individuals choose to use city resources for personal gain or political advantage, rather than invest in public safety, economic growth or our crumbling schools. We need to do a better job tracking spending and providing needed oversight to make sure we aren’t wasting already limited public resources on mismanaged bureaucracy and outright public corruption.”