In an effort to increase transparency and disclosure in the activities of the North Jersey District Water Supply Commission, the Christie Administration yesterday sent letters to the each of the seven Commissioners demanding that they produce all relevant information relating to the hiring practices at the NJDWSC, as well as all relevant information concerning compensation awarded to individuals or companies in connection with the activities of NJDWSC. Additionally, a separate letter was sent to Commissioner Albert Manzo requesting an explanation of discrepancies relating to his stated address of residence, which may have influenced his nomination process in the Senate.
An additional letter was sent to NJDWSC Executive Director Michael Restaino demanding explanation for inappropriate hiring, promotion and salary practices, including salary line-item increases in their 2011 budget and “pay disparity adjustments” contrary to Governor Christie’s stated opposition to such increases in the current economy. Further, the letter to the NJDWSC Executive Director made additional requests for disclosure and transparency in connection with NJDWSC business.
Despite the Governor’s current lack of veto authority over the NJDWSC, the Administration has continuously pressed the Commissioners to institute reforms to provide greater transparency and accountability in the commission’s activities.
The letters come on the heels of the action taken by Governor Christie in January and February to remove six of the seven Passaic Valley Sewerage Commissioners, and subsequent efforts to clean up the patronage practices, mismanagement and associated waste of ratepayer dollars, including at least 71 firings, an overhaul of the organization, the freezing of fees paid to outside attorney and other reforms. This action has already resulted in savings of $10 million at the PVSC.
Governor Christie has called on the Legislature to act on bipartisan legislation to grant the Governor veto authority over both the PVSC and the NJDWSC.