UCCF 4/20/17: Pay-to-Play Soft Corruption

2017-296: Amending Resolution Number 2016-798, a Professional Engineering Service Contract with T&M Associates, of Middletown, New Jersey, to provide additional professional engineering services associated with the Groundwater Remediation and Monitoring at the Venneri Complex, Westfield, New Jersey, in an amount not to exceed $2,100.00 for a new contract amount not to exceed $182,660.00. (Union County Engineering Project Number 2011-031)

2017-297: Amending Resolution Number 2015-131, a Professional Engineering Service Contract with Maser Consulting, PA, of Red Bank, New Jersey, to provide additional professional engineering services associated with the Replacement of Mountain Avenue Minor Bridge, Be26, Township of Berkeley Heights, in an amount not to exceed $19,700.00 for a new contract amount not to exceed $226,700.00. (Union County Engineering Project Number 2013-024)
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From Soft Corruption by William E. Schluter (pages 33-34):

Pay-to-play restrictions do not apply to some broad areas of government. The law covers only contracts made with the State of New Jersey while allowing local units of government to remain out of the pay-to-play system by using a “fair and open” process for awarding contracts. “Fair and open” requires only that the contract be advertised, that the criteria for an award be clearly stated, and that approval be made at a public meeting. These are not rigorous standards for competitive bidding and offer little impediment to insider deals for a favored contractor. In the words of former New Jersey state comptroller Matthew Boxer, “Qualifying for the fair and open exception returns the local government entity to the essentially unregulated system of contracting that existed before the pay-to-play law.”

In an effort to correct this serious gap in the application of pay to pay, a statewide reform organization, the Center for Civic Responsibility, has embarked on a broad initiative aimed at convincing towns and counties to adopt ordinances outlawing pay to play. While this effort, called the Citizens Campaign, has enlisted almost 100 of the state’s 565 municipalities and three of the twenty-one counties in a few short years, the most expedient way to make all local governments subject to strict pay-to-play regulations and close the “fair and open” loophole is through state law, a position advocated by the Citizens Campaign.

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One response to this post.

  1. […] nation with no relief in sight. But that could be a good thing if it wakes more people up to the soft corruption that local governments here are […]

    Reply

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