A report by researchers at Rutgers University’s Department of Labor Studies and Employment Relations and Department of Public Policy and Administration says the state administration’s “significant neglect” of reviewing the performance of private contractors costs lives.
“Recent events highlight the urgency of this issue. Failure to properly oversee the contractors responsible for the Department of Corrections’ Residential Community Release program resulted in the death of innocent people. More recently, the failure to properly manage the administration of recovery funds following Hurricane Sandy delayed needed aid to Sandy victims for many months and led to millions of dollars in unexplained costs.” the research report–entitled “Overlooking Oversight”– concluded.
The report concentrated on four areas:
” • A lack of contract monitoring at DCF’s Division of Child Protection andPermanency (DCPP) leaves children vulnerable to being served by inadequate providers.
“• Lack of oversight at DHS’s Department of Developmental Disabilities led to substantial waste of taxpayer money with little assurance that services for which the state has contracted are being provided
“• Lack of oversight at DOC’s Residential Community Release Program (RCRP) led to assaults and deaths in the facilities as well as in communities
“• Lack of oversight of the state’s Hurricane Sandy relief and rebuilding programs led to the inappropriate denial of aid to thousands of families and businesses.”
Researcher Janice Finetold a telephone press conference that “oversight is not negotiable.”
Some of the harshest criticisms were reserved for the Christie Administration’s handling of Sandy recovery. Adam Gordon, a staff attorney for Fair Share Housing, spoke at the teleconference and called the performance of contractor HGI was a “chaotic and error-ridden process.”
Gordon said 80 percent of those denied help by Louisiana-based HGI were, in fact, eligible for help. He said black and Latino victims were especially vulnerable to mistakes made by HGI.
Bob Braun’s Blog will have a more detailed report in a few hours. Authors of the report have scheduled a telephone press conference.