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Christie Signs Order Demanding Sandy Aid Transparency

The order directs the State comptroller to conduct independent review of contracts and provides transparency measures over expenditures.

An executive order signed by Gov. Chris Christie Friday aims to put key review and reporting initiatives in place to ensure that distribution of Hurricane Sandy relief funds is done in an accountable and transparent matter.

The order, No. 125, directs the Office of the State Comptroller to conduct an independent, legal review of the procurement process for state contracts using federal reconstruction aid, according to a release. Each of the state's departments dealing with the distribution of federal aid will designate an "Accountability Officer" to work with the Comptroller's Office and the Governor's Office of Recovery and Rebuilding.

The order also requires that contracts approved with the state be made accessible to the public through a State-sponsored website, though a destination has not yet been identified.

The planned website will also provide information about available federal funding streams and funding criteria, tracking of funding, and contract vendor information.

A hot-line allowing residents to report suspected instances of the fraudulent use, waste, or abuse of federal restoration aid will also be established.

According to the release, a number of assigned staff from the Comptroller's Office will conduct procurement reviews as contracts are considered. Accountability Officers designated for each state department will share information and cooperate with the Comptroller's Office to facilitate the review process and serve as liaisons to the Governor's Office.

The State Comptroller will provide information to contracting entities regarding applicable laws, rules, and regulations governing the contracting process to help ensure accountability, transparency, and a timely allocation of rebuilding funds, according to a release. In addition, State departments and agencies will prominently display fraud prevention notices at all construction projects involving federal aid.

Karen M February 09, 2013 at 02:25 PM
@Sal, Christie gave Ashbritt the contract because the lobbyist firm that represents Ashbritt is hosting a fundraising event for Christie in Virginia. I'm sure you can figure it out by now, put two and two together and the answer will be quite clear. Corruption at its best. Money talks and bullsh_t walks.
foggyworld February 09, 2013 at 02:52 PM
George, Is the Saturday meeting still on? It could be difficult driving for some of us because we need some roads to be plowed and I'm not optimistic. Many thanks.
foggyworld February 09, 2013 at 02:59 PM
The irony is that that particular state has received an unusually large amount of help whenever disaster has struck them. I think some representatives though did vote against the money because the bill was so overloaded with perks for places like Alaska that it didn't make sense for the federal debt to toss us deeper in the hole for things that had nothing whatsoever to do the Sandy. This tacking on to bills is an issue whose time has come. We are all in one big financial mess that the tricks and games our "civil servants" play are at the expense often of the name of the bills that are intended to help people. It's just another thing to send as many emails as you can to say you are sick and tired of it. But be sure to let those Florida congressmen know what steps you are taking in reaction to what they did to us. It's unfortunate that NJ's representatives never seem to have enough clout to warn a group that this State's representatives and Senators will vote accordingly when the opportunity arises. We have two marginal Senators and not very many bright lights in the Congress.
barbara February 09, 2013 at 03:24 PM
Would love to attend the meeting, but I live in Whiting and hard to get there today with the weather. My Toms River house was destroyed. Please post if another meeting will be scheduled in the future.
Karly C February 09, 2013 at 03:26 PM
George is the Rally still a go??
George February 09, 2013 at 03:37 PM
Roads are fine. It's 15-20 mins. from you. As the gecko says, "Spend 15 mins. and save a bundle" -- like $30,000 a year in flood insurance premiums because you didn't spend $60,000 to raise your house. Thanks for that, FEMA and Christie. The vultures are already circling... My neighbor sold his flood-zone house to a vulture buyer for less than $75,000. He gave up on living there when he heard what he'd have to spend for the rest of his life.
Rich Wieland February 09, 2013 at 03:52 PM
More than 250 homes have been listed for sale since the flood -- in Toms River alone. Many others previously for sale have significantly reduced their prices. Similar rush to leave in other Shore towns. I'm a Realtor and I know my own home's value has dropped because of FEMA's onerous "pay now" (raise it for $60,000 if it were even possible to raise it) "or pay later" ($30,000 a year in flood insurance premiums) mandate. I'll be at today's regional protest rally: "Stop FEMA Now" Saturday 2/9/12, 3-4 pm, Belly Busters Restaurant, 708 Fischer Blvd, Toms River See you there!
Chief Wahoo February 09, 2013 at 04:08 PM
do not forget to talk about upcoming property tax hikes on property that is currently 2/3 its assesed value and dropping each week.......the 2014 property taxes will be the left hook you all do not see coming
foggyworld February 09, 2013 at 04:10 PM
George, looking forward to meeting you. Yes, the vultures are here but they possibly could come out losers. I can think of a few spots that could be used by our communities for good purposes if the owners do not want to rebuild. Should a post storm property owner show up, there wouldn't be any compassion given if the house was taken by the government. I can understand that it's cash in hand - though not enough to buy a new home anywhere in the land - but people need to slow down a bit and think through all sorts of things before they sell out to speculators.
Dentss Dunnagun February 09, 2013 at 05:29 PM
Christie is not demanding that you get flood insurance ...it's the banks !
proud February 09, 2013 at 07:03 PM
@Dentss Dunnagun,the banks aren't "forcing" anyone to buy flood insurance, They are as a federal lending institution, required to have flood insurance as a condition of lending terms, if they are the mortgagors or lien holder on a HELOC. The Biggert-Waters Act,which is a design to destroy our economy and push out the middle class, has increased the penalties to banks if they do not do so. If you don't have a mortgage or bank loan on a formerly compliant property, you will be penalized by losing all the equity on the building situated on the land that you own. If you do have a mortgage or bank loan, you will be taxed (penalized) by being forced to purchase insurance at usurious rates. The problem is that the risk does not justify the premium. I would expand on this, but I have a rally to attend.
Barbara February 09, 2013 at 09:05 PM
The corrupt people will find a way to get around the "transparency" rule. When it comes to lining their pockets, they know all the tricks.
Condor February 10, 2013 at 09:55 AM
I really wish people would not post scare tatics. The fact is there are 103 waterfront homes in Toms River and Ortley Beach on the market right now. 47 of which came on the market since the storm hit. Not 250. and not all of these have suffered storm damage and some were on the market before Sandy and have just renewed their listings. And there is no mandate of $30,000 a year for insurance premiums, that is absurd. We would all go bankrupt if that's the case. Geez.Go to your meeting and please get the facts straight before you post and get people even more upset.
Dentss Dunnagun February 10, 2013 at 10:06 AM
The facts ?.. I suggest that Sandy is being used as a Red Herring to distract the populous for as long as possible while real assets are being snapped up . I suggest that we are being leached dry by the Banks and Government ( which are one and the same)and that the parasites are almost ready to move in…"You're not supposed to be so blind with loyalty that you can't face reality. Wrong is wrong no matter who does it or who says it." . I suggest that we are being leached dry by the banks and that the parasites are almost ready to move on…
Mrgrumpass February 10, 2013 at 04:58 PM
This being Sunday the 10th, did anyone show up yesterday?
proud February 10, 2013 at 05:28 PM
@Mrgrumpass, a group of fine, well mannered ,and intelligent people (that are getting screwed over by the government), met yesterday to get acquainted and brainstormed how to enlighten the masses to get their elected "representatives" get off their posteriors and save the region. Catch the next wave at Facebook.com/Stopfemanow
TerriLynn February 12, 2013 at 01:56 AM
This is really very sad. I understand that there are townships that need help to rebuild, but it seems like they are forgetting about all of us homeowners who are living outta their bedroooms and not getting any help. Or how about the homeowners that don't have anything left? Not for nothing, putting the listing on a website and showing where the money is spent doesn't help. It'll all ready be spent and won't be able to get it back.I'm with Mary Ann.
S. Bar February 12, 2013 at 08:56 PM
Worried about tax hikes? We need local spending cuts asap to help. We also need Federal spending cuts now. For those of you who voted for obama don't come crying when you get to keep less and less of your money.
S. Bar February 12, 2013 at 08:57 PM
Does anyone care that FEMA is giving "renters" more money who are not even renting??? Why doesnt FEMA pay the landlords directly to eliminate SOME of the fraud out there. Disgusting.
S. Bar February 12, 2013 at 08:59 PM
You are not taking into account that no houses have closed since they storm except for an extreme small number that had contracts before the storm. Nothing is selling and more and more are listing and many have put up FSBO signs. Its real.
S. Bar February 12, 2013 at 09:01 PM
Do you think FEMA is really doing a good job? I voted for Romney and agree that FEMA should be shut-down and reopened at the state level like he wanted. Wouldn't it be better for NJ to be in charge of our own problems rather than have to deal w/ the Feds?
S. Bar February 12, 2013 at 09:04 PM
FEMA is about to run out of money...clearly not being managed right. Romney explained: "Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that's the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that's even better. Instead of thinking in the federal budget, what we should cut -- we should ask ourselves the opposite question. What should we keep? We should take all of what we're doing at the federal level and say, what are the things we're doing that we don't have to do? And those things we've got to stop doing, because we're borrowing $1.6 trillion more this year than we're taking in."
S. Bar February 12, 2013 at 09:04 PM
FEMA is about to run out of money...clearly not being managed right. Romney explained: "Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that's the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that's even better. Instead of thinking in the federal budget, what we should cut -- we should ask ourselves the opposite question. What should we keep? We should take all of what we're doing at the federal level and say, what are the things we're doing that we don't have to do? And those things we've got to stop doing, because we're borrowing $1.6 trillion more this year than we're taking in."
S. Bar February 12, 2013 at 09:07 PM
Wonder if FEMA money is paying for the state troopers sitting in their cars reading and talking on the phone at the end of each and every street in seaside. Just left there and it was a ghost town. And there are overtime hours in every shift. Would security officers w no overtime be more appropriate?
Gail February 13, 2013 at 02:10 AM
Who Has The MONEY?? Did the gov't or Fema really release $9 Bilion to pay insurance claims?? If they did release that money to the various insurance companies, have they bonded together and decided to keep it and make a bundle of interest? Certainly Gov. Christie must know where the money is but nothing is being told to us. Is it being invested in all the properties that will be sold for next to nothing. There is an AGENDA that we are not privy to. What do you think?
Marjorie Smith February 13, 2013 at 02:18 AM
It would be great if it wasn't so easy for tricksy evil doers to steal government money intended for good uses, including those ones who sit in public office.
Barbara February 13, 2013 at 02:48 AM
The biggest shame is that connected people are going to make it big with all this money that is being thrown around, and conflict of interest contractors, are sitting back and watching, and grinning like wolves, while volunteers are out there busting their butts. When will Christie step up and do the right thing. Don't reward your friends, Mr. Governor....do the right thing by the people who are suffering, and will continue to suffer if the money gets into the hands of greedy, lazy, corrupt individuals. Who do you represent?...your corporate friends, or the people of this state who need a hand.....the whole thing is sickening...
S. Bar February 13, 2013 at 06:50 PM
Ocean front bungalows in Midway Beach in S. Seaside Park is zone A-7. I'm in TR main land not on water, got no water in my house and I am A-9. WTF
Suzanne Schmitz February 14, 2013 at 03:55 AM
If a home is less than 50% damaged and is now concidered in zone "a" but started repairs last month are they grandfathered in and do not need to elevate?
Karen M February 14, 2013 at 06:55 PM
They , meaning the government aren't going to grandfather anything. You are SOL pretty much. If you didn't sustain the 50 percent then you technically don't have to, but the problem with that is you must check your elevation on the map to see if its changed, because if it has they will want you to go up. Also, you would be better off getting to the 50 percent if you have flood ins because then at least you could utilize the ICC. The bigger picture here is, that if you don't raise your flood ins will go up considerably in the next year. Also, if you try and sell your home in the future, it will be hard to find a bank that's going to give a mortgage on a home that's located in a flood zone. I have also heard in my town, that they will not issue CO's if the home isn't in compliance. I would fix your home and just wait and see what takes place come August when these maps become preliminary. I wouldn't rush into anything just yet because things may change. Also with ICC you have 4 years to complete the house raising.

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