Legalizing No-Bid Contracts

After an appeals court ruled a couple of weeks ago that Union County had illegally awarded contracts to build a government complex, the state legislature took quick action.

Yesterday S1714 was introduced and referred to Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee to legalize these pay-to-play arrangements.

Excerpts from the nj.com story:

Efforts by two counties to evade the state’s bidding laws on projects involving tens of millions in public funding are now the focus of a bill quietly introduced in the state Senate that would make legal what the courts have so far declared to be illegal.

The legislation — being pushed through the Legislature on the sponsorship of powerful Bergen County Democrat Paul Sarlo, who chairs the Budget and Appropriations Committee — would clear the way for county improvement authorities to essentially award no-bid deals to favored contractors.

Under the measure, counties would be able to ignore the bidding requirements of New Jersey’s Local Public Contracts Law by declaring any major construction proposal a “redevelopment project,” according to policy experts who examined the legislation.

……..

In Union County, there was a move from the start to forego the traditional public bidding process to award contracts for the construction as required by New Jersey’s Local Public Contracts Law. It classified the publicly-funding project as a “redevelopment effort,” naming a private contractor as a redeveloper.

Officials said that by foregoing sealed public bids, the Union County Improvement Authority would have the ability to negotiate construction project terms, eliminate cost overruns, cap the maximum project cost, and pick the most qualified company to handle the construction.

Requests for proposals for the design and construction of the project were issued through the state’s Local Redevelopment and Housing Law. Applicants were then scored not just on price, but graded in areas such as expertise, financial strength, diversity and other factors. Contracts were subsequently awarded not through public bid, but rather through a selection committee.

An examination of public records by NJ Advance Media of campaign finance reports filed with the state Election Law Enforcement Commission, in the meantime, showed that some associated with companies awarded contracts for the project were major donors to the Union County Democratic Committee and to candidates in the county.

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One response to this post.

  1. Dirty Jersey at it again. The losers in Trenton want to legalize pay to play and no-bid contracts that line the pockets of corrupt county leaders? They should all be in jail. Disgraceful group of losers who deserve each other but the public does not deserve these dirty creeps. This bill will be stopped. They will continue to be exposed for the criminals they are just like Taylor and Oatman were.

    Reply

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