Gov. Chris Christie has exercised his veto power for the first time, killing a $1.2 million change order approved on Jan. 6 by the board of the state Schools Development Authority. Including the vetoed amount, change orders for construction of a new addition to the Burlington City High School in the Burlington School District total $18.8 million. The original contract price was $28.7 million, meaning that the project’s cost had increased by 66 percent to $47.5 million, according to figures provided by the SDA.
“We will be placing far greater scrutiny than ever previously imposed on contracts and expenditures like these,” Christie said Wednesday. “This is symbolic and symptomatic of a much larger problem at the SDA when you have change orders that increase a building contract price by a staggering 66 percent. This careful and critical review is precisely the role that my Authorities Unit will undertake during my administration to ensure that taxpayer money is not being wasted.”
On Wednesday, Christie named Assistant U.S. Attorney Marc Larkins as the new SDA director. The veto letter was delivered to the SDA Tuesday afternoon.
The governor also vetoed action taken at SDA’s January 6 meeting, in which the board approved the readoption of certain regulations of the state Administrative Code.
Three executive orders issued by Christie on Jan. 20, require that all pending and proposed rules and regulations be reviewed by the Red Tape Review Group prior to adoption by any state agency or authority. NJN