(TRENTON) — Assembly Appropriations Committee Chairman John J. Burzichelli issued a multimedia package Monday questioning the slow pace and lack of transparency in Superstorm Sandy recovery efforts in New Jersey, as part of the Assembly Budget Committee’s review of the governor’s proposed FY 2015 budget.
Burzichelli (D-Gloucester) in part cited a recent Wall Street Journal article on the topic.
The multimedia package consists of a video of Burzichelli’s commentary and audio and a transcript of same.
The audio file is available upon request.
A transcript of Burzichelli’s comments is appended below:
Assemblyman John J. Burzichelli (D-Gloucester), Assembly Appropriations Committee Chair:
“The story tells us that a firm that was under contract with our Department of Community Affairs, the State of New Jersey, for the purpose of supplying support for the [Superstorm] Sandy recovery effort, has seen their contract go from a $5 million contract to a much larger contract, without the benefit of public bid.
“And this firm comes to New Jersey with a reputation that’s not exactly stellar, based on their performance in Louisiana [during Hurricane Katrina]. They were fined for the work that they did in Louisiana, and they’re responsible for getting money to people who are displaced from housing and trying to recover from Sandy, and they’re managing monies into the billions of dollars. They didn’t do well in Louisiana. Questions we have to ask is why do we expect them to do well in New Jersey? And, are these the only people that can do this kind of work and there are more questions than answers at this point.
“I mean, we need responsible people handling this money in an expeditious fashion because we still have people out of their homes. These people are still numb because although the initial storm has passed, they’re still living in a hurricane. They’re not in their homes. A question today that I don’t think is really going to be answered is, ‘Are they ever going to get back into their homes?’ Or should they just resign themselves to that they’re going to have to be somewhere else?
“So, there are real questions to be answered about how does this happen.”