Wednesday, December 8, 2010

NJ officials on the hot seat over winter energy program

The heads of two departments in New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's administration will be on the hot seat on Monday (12/13) when the Senate Legislative Oversight Committee asks questions about a report that found numerous shortcomings in the management of the state's weatherization program that's designed to help low-income homeowners take steps to save energy and keep their homes warmer in winter.

Here's how NJ Spotlight's Tom Johnson summarized the audit findings in a Nov. 12 story:
"It was big pot of federal stimulus money aimed at jump-starting the state’s economy, but an audit of a weatherization program found only a fraction of the $119 million allocated to New Jersey has been spent, and some of that went to unreasonable expenditures.

"The audit by the New Jersey Office of Legislative Services (OLS) found the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) failed to manage the program effectively, did not complete required inspections and did not document program costs in some areas.

"In fact, despite the allocation of $64 million to 23 local and community weatherization agencies, the audit found only $8.7 million in total expenditures was reported by the agencies. The federal government provided the money through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the program enacted by the Obama administration and Congress as part of a stimulus to help the economy rebound from a deep recession."
The committee will receive testimony from the Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs, the Commissioner of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, and the State Auditor. Testimony is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.
in Room 4 of the Statehouse Annex in Trenton.

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