Transparency advocate John Paff has gotten traction on a rulemaking petition he submitted to the Department of Consumer Affairs / Division of Local Government Services (DCA/DLGS) aimed at increasing public disclosure of contract awards. The proposed rule would require disclosure of the contract amount in the chief financial officer’s certification of available funds. The CFO’s certification must be referenced in the governing body’s resolution or ordinance authorizing the contract and must be attached to the resolution/ordinance in the Municipal Clerk’s files. The proposed rule would ensure that the contract amount is included in a publicly available record.
Public comments are being accepted by the DLGS until March 8, 2017. For where to send comments, see page 1 (left side) of the formal proposal published in the February 6, 2017 New Jersey Register.
It’s not uncommon for local governments to hide the dollar amount of contracts or even to hide who is receiving a contract in some cases. Taxpayers should be able to determine, for example, if a contract price is reasonable or if ceilings have been complied with for contracts awarded without competitive bidding.
The rule revision is a common sense step toward greater transparency. We encourage our readers to submit comments expressing their support for it. Thank you!