Superstorm Sandy Projects: Integrity Oversight Monitor Legislation Becomes Law

New Jersey public employment lawyerSuperstorm Sandy caused an estimated $30 billion in damage to the state of New Jersey. As rebuilding efforts ramp up and federal assistance becomes available, Gov. Chris Christie recently signed legislation aimed to ensure sufficient oversight over the expenditure of Hurricane Sandy recovery resources. Accordingly, public entities must follow certain guidelines when executing contracts related to Superstorm Sandy recovery and rebuilding projects.

The law, A-60/S-2536, specifically authorizes the deployment of integrity oversight monitors in the implementation of certain recovery and rebuilding projects. The law defines a “Hurricane Sandy recovery and rebuilding project” as a project relying on: (i) federal funding provided through Hurricane Sandy, or other major storm, disaster assistance legislation enacted by the current Congress; (ii) funding supplied through the State treasury to address the damage associated with Hurricane Sandy; or (iii) funds provided pursuant to federal legislation or through the State Treasury to address the damage associated any other major storm or natural disaster.

The State Treasurer will be authorized to use integrity monitors in certain Hurricane Sandy recovery and rebuilding projects involving both State and non-State contracts. Contracts involving consideration of less than five million dollars will not require oversight monitors, unless the State Treasurer makes a determination that the exemption should be lifted to prevent inefficiency or to monitor large-scale projects.

For Hurricane Sandy recovery and rebuilding projects involving State contracts, the bill authorizes the State Treasurer to make the use of an integrity monitor a contractual condition that may be exercised to alleviate potential or ongoing inefficiency or in caution due to the size or nature of the contract.  For projects not involving State contracts, the bill authorizes the State Treasurer to procure the services of an integrity monitor to service the project. In either scenario, the law makes the use of an integrity monitor during the initial stages of a contract’s implementation the default scenario, unless waived by the State Treasurer upon a determination of sufficient compliance controls.

The State Treasurer is tasked with establishing a qualified integrity monitor pool from which integrity monitors will be assigned to a Hurricane Sandy recovery and rebuilding project. The pool will be made available through a public website.

Additional guidance regarding the program will be forthcoming, and we will provide updates. For compliance assistance, we encourage you to contact a member of Scarinci Hollenbeck’s Public Law Group.

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