There's been a lot of talk about making sure federal Sandy Relief aid is spent wisely, but today the full Assembly votes on a bill to deploy integrity oversight monitors.

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Yesterday, the U.S. Senate convened its first hearing on Sandy recovery and rebuilding efforts. It is now clear the federal government is keeping an eye on Sandy cash too.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan was among those to testify before the Senate Homeland Security Committee. He told members of the panel that a task force has been established for added oversight.

"The task force's role is to help supplement individual agency's efforts to get money where it's needed by sharing lessons learned about how to use it most effectively and efficiently," Donovan says. "Our role is also to facilitate the monitoring of those programs to ensure accountability and to take additional measures to prevent waste, fraud and abuse."

Also testifying yesterday were Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig and Assistant Secretary for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy. It was Donovan however who took the point on the issue of oversight.

"We're working with the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board and with the relevant Inspectors General in support of their critical oversight mission," Donovan explains. "We'll monitor and share data about how the dollars are being spent on a public website to give the public the confidence that their dollars are being spent as intended."

NJ Oversight Bill

The bill scheduled for a vote today in the full Assembly The bill imposes oversight upon Hurricane Sandy recovery funding by:

  • Establishing a Hurricane Sandy recovery funding transparency website
  • Requiring comprehensive quarterly reports on Hurricane Sandy recovery funding
  • Requiring expedited priority reports for administrative problems encountered in Hurricane Sandy recovery funding to enable prompt responses.

"Rebuilding what Sandy destroyed will be a major undertaking," says Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, one of the measure's co-sponsors. "A project of this multitude and the bulk of funding involved demands transparency. We owe it to the communities affected to ensure that the funds slated for New Jersey to assist in the rebuilding will be spent wisely."