Erin O'Neil, of the Star-Ledger, just published an article, NJ's 'massively botched' housing grant programs claim advocates, which reveals new details about the contractor just fired for mismanaging the application process for the two largest programs for homeowners damaged by the Sandy hurricane.
The Fair Share Housing Center today released an analysis of state data showing that nearly 80 percent of residents who appealed rejections from the two housing programs proved they were wrongly denied in the first place. The center obtained the data through an open public records request.
"The Christie Administration's widespread rejection of large numbers of families actually eligible for Sandy aid shows that the Sandy recovery process has been flawed from start to finish," said Adam Gordon, a staff attorney for Fair Share Housing Center, which sued the state last year for not releasing public documents related to the recovery effort,
The Fair Share group blames both the state and the firm Hammerman and Gainer, Inc, HGI, which was hired last spring to manage New Jersey's recover efforts.
New Jersey storm victims have sharply criticized HGI for providing incorrect and conflicting information, and being told to resubmit paperwork multiple times.
In December, HGI and the state of New Jersey reached an agreement to end their $68 million contract.
The Fair Share Housing Center’s analysis of data found nearly 3,200 homeowners who applied to the RREM were initially told they did not qualify. Of those residents, 1,033 appealed and about 1,000 of those appeals have been decided. Nearly 80 percent of individuals — 788 applicants — who appealed were found to be eligible.
The Fair Share Housing Center is calling on the state to provide a full explanation of why HGI was fired, to allow an independent federal audit of all rejected applications, and to explain the states future plans for more effectively operating recover programs.
Perhaps, this is an indication of what happens when an administration fills up important state posts with political cronies rather than career professionals. And, if Governor Christie's management of his top priority Sandy Relief housing program is this incompetent, I shudder to imagine what's going on in other less conspicuous programs in the state.
I'm starting to think that totally apart from however the investigations of the GWB, Hoboken and other allegations turn out, we are seeing plenty of evidence that Governor Christie is a "not-ready-for-prime-time" player, and not of presidential caliber in either character or competence. In 1969, Laurence J. Peter co-authored a book called The Peter Principle: Why Things Always Go Wrong, which suggested people rise to their level of incompetence. Christie may have been a competent federal prosecutor but seems not to have the leadership qualities needed to run a state. And, most glaringly he seems to be a total disaster at choosing people and companies to work with him.
This makes me so sad. Yes, I'm a sad Hounddog today.
2:54 PM PT: I just updated the post to add the full title of the Peter Principle, and correct a grammatical error.
BTW does anyone know the HTML code for underlining, as I believe the title of a book should be underlined not italicized, but this was not one of the available choices.
3:21 PM PT: Thanks to PresentMoment for the underline HTML. Book title now underlined not italicized.
5:14 PM PT: Hey Chris Hayes, on MSNBC, is doing a segment on this story. You heard it here first!