Governor Murphy’s Executive Order No. 166 established the COVID-19 Compliance and Oversight Taskforce to provide compliance guidance to State agencies expending COVID-19 recovery funds. The COVID-19 Compliance and Oversight Taskforce is chaired by Acting State Comptroller Kevin Walsh and includes the Treasurer, the Attorney General, and the Governor’s Disaster Recovery Office. The Taskforce also includes Accountability Officer representatives from New Jersey Transit, the Department of Education, and the Department of Children and Families. The Taskforce is primarily responsible for 1) developing a Compliance Plan and 2) establishing an Integrity Oversight Monitoring program to help oversee COVID-19 recovery programs.
1) Compliance Plan:
The Compliance Plan guides state agencies and authorities in their uses of disaster recovery funds, allowing participating state agencies and authorities to expend funding efficiently while staying accountable to New Jersey residents. It outlines a comprehensive oversight framework to guide the state’s recovery and to ensure that the many agencies and authorities that are using recovery funds follow uniform practices that lead to accountability and transparency.
In the Compliance Plan, participants in the state’s recovery program will find guidance on internal controls and best practices for preventing, detecting, and responding to fraud. Real world examples of audit findings from New Jersey’s recovery from Hurricane Sandy are also included throughout the Plan.
The Compliance Plan directs agencies and authorities to encourage competition among bidders in order to maximize the public benefit and guard against favoritism and corruption in public contracting. The plan calls for agencies and authorities to ensure that whistleblowers are protected and to comply with state and federal civil rights laws, which are especially significant in view of the disproportionately greater impact of COVID-19 on communities of color.The Compliance Plan
2) Integrity Oversight Monitoring Program:
Under Executive Order 166, state agencies and authorities that spend federal recovery dollars, including funding received from the Coronavirus Relief Fund, must retain integrity monitors who will ensure funds are used appropriately. The guidelines establish the state’s integrity monitor program, which includes processes for reporting concerns regarding waste, fraud, and abuse to the Governor’s Disaster Recovery Office, the Senate President, the Speaker of the General Assembly, the Attorney General, the State Treasurer, and the State Comptroller.
The guidelines will provide state agencies and authorities with a framework to determine when it is appropriate to spend recovery funds on oversight from independent monitors who have expertise in tracking spending and administering government programs in compliance with federal and State rules and regulations.The Integrity Oversight Monitoring Program