TRENTON – As Dr. John Petillo testified about out of control spending and contracting practices at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) during today’s Senate Budget hearings, Senator Shirley K. Turner announced the introduction of a pair of bills that would reduce political patronage by requiring public bidding for professional and technical service contracts by state public colleges and universities and all levels of government.
“The State’s colleges and universities are running wild with spending, throwing away taxpayer dollars at the same time they are raising tuition,” said Senator Tuner, D-Mercer. “There is no reason for UMDNJ to give out $160 million in no bid contracts. It’s simply reprehensible. It is political patronage at its worst and our students seeking an affordable higher education are the ones who really pay the price for it in the end.”
Senator Turner’s first bills, S- 2532, would amend existing law to require contracts for professional and technical services to be awarded through a competitive bidding process for state agencies and authorities, counties, municipalities, and school districts. In addition, the bill would require bidding on state architectural, engineering and land surveying contracts. Senator Turner will introduce a second bill tomorrow that would deal with public colleges and universities.
“The fact that the contracts don’t currently require public bids make them a breeding ground for nepotism and cronyism. There is no legitimate reason why these contracts shouldn’t be opened to competitive bidding. It’s time that the state began taking the steps needed to reduce political patronage at all levels of government,” added Senator Turner.
Both bills will be considered by the Senate State Government Committee.