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.