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Oops! Jim Bean Was Right!

“I hate when that happens!”


Last night Jim Bean expressed some consternation that all this funny business surrounding our Sandy spending might endanger our FEMA reimbursement.  Of course this concern was summarily dismissed by the Democrats.  The tape containing this exchange will be up here soon.

So did the Democrats speak too soon?

In today’s (right-wing) Newark Star Ledger we see this:

Christie’s no-bid Hurricane Sandy contract could cost N.J. millions in federal funding

When Gov. Chris Christie awarded a no-bid contract to a Florida debris removal company a day after Hurricane Sandy hit, the administration and its proponents said it was needed for a quick response to the disaster and stressed it was the best way for hard-hit towns to get the most aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

But the move also has its risks for towns expecting tens of millions from the federal government, according to federal guidelines, audits and emergency management experts.

New Jersey faces federal rules that were toughened after FEMA was sharply criticized by Congress in the wake of Hurricane Katrina for allowing no-bid contracts that lawmakers said bilked taxpayers.

Because of this, FEMA and the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security will take a long look at the state’s procurement process to determine whether taxpayers got the fairest rates. In other states, the federal government has recommended that towns it says spent too much should refund some FEMA aid — years after their cleanup.


In 2011, the inspector general with the Department of Homeland Security recommended that FEMA recoup about $4 million in federal aid to a tiny coastal town in Louisiana that borrowed a contract from a nearby parish. The reason: The town never considered whether the adopted contract had “reasonable costs” and the inherited contract had problems. In several other cases, FEMA reimbursed at a lower rate than the local town was charged by the contractor, records show.


Colts Neck was one of the few New Jersey townships that bid out the work right after the storm, taking advantage of the emergency declaration to do it informally, through phone calls, according to township administrator Robert Bowden. The town went with Florida-based Bergeron, which offered to the work for $11.70 per cubic yard, about half of AshBritt’s rates, he said.

In the end, the town paid Bergeron $753,959 to remove about 64,000 cubic yards. If AshBritt was hired, the same job would have cost $1.36 million, Bowden said.

Abbott said FEMA requires contracts to be competitively bid with exceptions, such as an emergency. Even then, Abbott said towns are only allowed to use no-bid contracts for a short time after the event to clear roads and to remove any threats to public safety. “Just because there is a declared emergency, it doesn’t mean you don’t have any competitive bidding obligations,” he said.

Still I doubt that FEMA would make any trouble for us.  If they did, David Axelrod might get a very angry phone call from Belmar’s first lady.

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