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(TRENTON) — Assemblywoman Celeste Riley and Assemblyman Peter J. Barnes III on Thursday vowed to introduce legislation recommended by the state comptroller to make it tougher for unscrupulous public officials and contractors to unlawfully profit from government contracts.

Comptroller Mathew Boxer on Thursday released a report to more than 1,500 government entities describing best practices that will better ensure contracts funded by public dollars are appropriately advertised, properly evaluated and transparently awarded by procurement officials. Boxer also recommended the Legislature enact the proposals into law.

“Public contracting has shown itself to be among the most weakest areas in New Jersey law and an area ripe for corruption and abuse that costs taxpayers dearly,” said Riley (D-Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem). “Taxpayers have had enough and these are common sense guidelines that can go a long way toward providing them relief and a more honest government. I applaud the comptroller’s report and look forward to seeing it become law.”

“Anything to make it more difficult for dishonest people to take advantage of taxpayers is the right thing to do,” said Barnes (D-Middlesex). “These best practices should be mandatory and we will work hard to make sure they become law to protect taxpayers and promote more honest government. The comptroller should be thanked for these ideas that I hope to soon see become law.”

Boxer recommended that:

  • Contracts should be awarded based on predetermined, merit-based criteria made known to vendors before proposals are submitted.
  • Proposals should be judged by a qualified evaluation committee.
  • The pool of contractors solicited should be as expansive as possible.
  • Statements of work should be drafted in clear and unambiguous terms.
  • Contracts should be awarded following a documented scoring process.

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