Delay on reports from Sandy-spending monitors frustrates N.J. lawmakers

 Associate Deputy Treasurer Dave Ridolfino testifies before the Assembly State and Local Government Committee (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

Associate Deputy Treasurer Dave Ridolfino testifies before the Assembly State and Local Government Committee (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

New Jersey lawmakers must wait until July 1 for the first report from an independent panel charged with overseeing expenditures of Sandy recovery funds.

The law, which created the panel in March 2013, calls for the preparation of quarterly reports on contracts for projects of $5 million or more.

But it’s been a complicated process to select the firms to oversee the contracts, said Dave Ridolfino, associate deputy state treasurer.

Still, he told legislators Monday, ongoing efforts have targeted waste and fraud.

“Clearly there was some oversight,” he said.

“But that oversight is not something that the public sees,” responded Assemblywoman Linda Stender.”The public access to these dollars, how are the dollars being spent — because, quite frankly, I think we have a public who doesn’t have a lot of confidence in what the government does and how they do it.”

Stender, D-Union, said she is frustrated with the delay in getting the first of the reports on how federal Sandy funds are being spent.

It adds to the frustration of residents who find it almost virtually impossible to easily get information on that spending, she said.

“The law was passed over a year ago. The money came in. The money is being spent. Lives are on hold,  waiting,” Stender said. “The question is why are they are not sharing what they’ve got? What are they afraid of?”

Sandy struck about a year and a half ago.

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