"By piggybacking on another state's contract, we were not able to work out the kind of details, such as mileage details. And in all likelihood, we would have been able to negotiate a better rate and avoid these kinds of issues," he said.
That drew a strong rebuke from Christie spokesman
"By his analysis, Gordon would have dawdled and let
Christie's office requested the review by the Comptroller's Office days after a report in The Record raised questions about the distance calculations.
Boxer's report said it did not focus on the contract-approval process. Those issues are beings audited separately by the
The three monitoring firms that oversaw debris removal in
The investigation examined whether the mileage calculations should have included the distance traveled inside the
For example, the contract did not spell out whether distances between 15 and 16 miles should be charged at the higher or lower rate. And in cases, monitors rounded up to 16 miles. Those account for a small portion of the overcharges. The contract also did not specify whether the endpoint for a haul should be at the entrance to a landfill or to the top of a landfill heap _ a significant distinction given the size of the sprawling
Nearly two-thirds of the overcharges were due to
The monitoring firms also blamed quirks in computer calculations of certain routes, the report found. The charges were supposed to be based on the shortest possible driving route, and the firms relied on different mapping software to calculate that distance.
Investigators said Louis Berger had calculated trips from Berkeley to the landfill at 16.1 miles, based on a Google Maps search. An odometer reading by investigators found it was actually 15.2 miles. Louis Berger said the route was probably adjusted to avoid a school, but there were alternative routes that were less than 16 miles, the report said. That resulted in a credit of
Investigators consulted with federal emergency management officials, state officials and contractors and drove the routes themselves, the report said. The federal government has said it will reimburse
Boxer's report found that a confluence of factors led to "initial indications of ... misconduct" but didn't uncover strong evidence that it was intentional.
Those include that many temporary storage sites happened to be about 16 miles from the landfill, that the distances traveled within the landfill itself were large and that the contract left room for interpretation. The office recommended that, in the future, contracts for debris-hauling services contain clear requirements for mileage calculations, explain what distances may be included in the calculations and spell out the methods for calculating the distances.
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