Accuses Trenton Democrats of Trying to “Politicize a Natural Disaster”
Today’s joint legislative hearing on the Superstorm Sandy Ashbritt contract didn’t really accomplish much in terms of providing new information, Save Jerseyans, other than to give N.J. Democrats new insight into why Barbara Buono was their back up choice to challenge Chris Christie in 2013.
Christie ally and former U.S. Senate candidate Joe Kyrillos didn’t mince words after the dust had settled under the State House dome:
The residents of my district, and so many others, were devastated by Hurricane Sandy. There is nothing that matters more to them than returning their homes and communities to normal, and that process began once the waters receded with cleanup.
Fortunately, that cleanup process was expedited by a sound decision by the Christie Administration to put an emergency contract in place with a firm that was tested under extreme weather events like Hurricane Katrina.
Today’s hearing taught us that the Governor acted in the best interests of the people of this state and in a manner that will withstand scrutiny by the federal government and most importantly, secure the federal funding for reimbursement.
We also learned that there are some who, in their relentless campaign to criticize the governor, will even politicize a natural disaster. That is perhaps the most important lesson from today’s political theater, and it is disgraceful.”
The Christie Administration didn’t waste any time going on the offensive. As the Friday afternoon hearings go under way, the press office fired out a release detailing, among other points, why they insist the Ashbritt contract did result from a competitive bidding process:
AshBritt was retained by the State of New Jersey on October 31, 2013, via an existing competitively bid contract in Connecticut. It was made available as one option among others for municipalities – the majority of which chose other available contractors, chose to use municipal resources, or both.
The underlying Connecticut contract was competitively bid on February 25, 2008, and AshBritt was awarded the primary contract on June 30, 2008.
AshBritt was selected from among 10 bidders, which included 3 out of the 4 US Army Corps of Engineers contractors, by an interagency evaluation committee consisting of representatives from the departments of:
o Administrative Services,
o Environmental Protection,
o Public Safety, and
o Emergency Management and Homeland Security.
The Connecticut contract fit the scope of work to be done in New Jersey in view of the level of devastation.