Introducing OSC’s COVID-19 Compliance and Oversight Project
Read about OSC's latest initiative to hold New Jersey's recovery from COVID-19 accountable.
Executive Order 166
On July 17, 2020, Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order 166 (EO 166), which was aimed at ensuring greater oversight and accountability in the state’s administration of federal COVID-19 resources. Among other things, EO 166 established the Governor’s Disaster Recovery Office (GDRO), established the roles of COVID-19 Accountability Officers, mandated the creation of a COVID-19 Transparency website, and established the COVID-19 Compliance and Oversight Taskforce (Taskforce), with the State Comptroller as its chair.
In addition to the State Comptroller’s role with the Taskforce, EO 166 also charged the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) with additional responsibilities in reviewing COVID-19 procurements, providing training and assistance to each Recovery Program Participant regarding best practices for mitigating risks of fraud, waste, and abuse, and overseeing the work of Integrity Monitors throughout the state.
Formation of COVID-19 Compliance and Oversight Project
OSC’s role in the COVID-19 recovery extends beyond the additional responsibilities EO 166 established. OSC has a staff of about 140 attorneys, investigators, auditors, data analysts, and administrative specialists who work together to make government in New Jersey more efficient, transparent, and accountable. OSC has broad statutory authority to conduct reviews, audit state and local entities, review procurements, and investigate fraud, waste, and abuse of public funding, including COVID-19 Recovery Funds.
On May 10, 2021, OSC officially introduced the COVID-19 Compliance and Oversight Project, a special project within OSC dedicated to ensuring proper oversight and accountability over the billions of dollars of COVID-19 Recovery Funds across the state. While this work has been ongoing since Governor Murphy signed EO 166 in July of 2020, the COVID-19 Compliance and Oversight Project was introduced to formalize OSC’s role and dedication to this ongoing effort in view of the importance, expected duration, and substantial amount of federal funding dedicated to the COVID-19 response and recovery. The COVID-19 Compliance and Oversight Project will tap into the expertise of many of OSC’s divisions – utilizing OSC’s talent in procurement, audit, and investigations to take a comprehensive approach to oversight.
What does the COVID-19 Compliance and Oversight Project do?
The COVID-19 Compliance and Oversight Project promotes accountability, transparency, and compliance in the spending of federal relief money through ongoing monitoring and oversight activities, special projects and targeted reviews, and by offering technical assistance and training. It conducts ongoing engagement with the COVID-19 Accountability Officers (AO) on matters related to procurement, documentation and eligibility of expenses, risk and internal controls, and fraud, waste, and abuse, among other topics. It also provides proactive, and when necessary, retrospective best practice recommendations to AOs to assist in their oversight efforts of COVID-19 Recovery Funds. The COVID-19 Compliance and Oversight Project also conducts ongoing oversight of the COVID-19 Oversight Integrity Monitors (IM) by monitoring IM deliverables, reviewing IM reports, and ensuring open communication lines exist between IMs and AOs. Lastly, the COVID-19 Compliance and Oversight Project collaborates with OSC’s internal divisions, as well as GDRO and the Taskforce, to proactively identify and recommend steps to mitigate potential risks in the spending and administration of COVID-19 Recovery Funds.
What doesn’t the COVID-19 Compliance and Oversight Project do?
The COVID-19 Compliance and Oversight Project’s scope is limited to matters of compliance, accountability, and oversight. OSC is an independent state agency and is not involved with decisions related to how COVID-19 Recovery Funds are allocated or what programs, government entities, or individuals should receive funding. It also does not provide legal advice or make policy decisions.
Key Terms Defined
COVID-19 Accountability Officer: a senior-level official who serves as the COVID-19 Recovery Program Participant’s primary liaison to the Governor’s Disaster and Recovery Office (GDRO) and the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC), and oversees the responsible disbursement of COVID-19 Recovery Funds by or through that COVID-19 Recovery Program Participant and the administration of any COVID-19 Recovery Programs operated by the COVID-19 Recovery Program Participant
COVID-19 Recovery Funds: any funds disbursed by the federal or State government to help New Jersey respond to or recover from the COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19 Recovery Programs: eligible and planned uses of any funds disbursed by the federal or State government to help New Jersey residents, businesses, non-profit organizations, government agencies, and other entities respond to or recover from the COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19 Recovery Program Participant: each principal department and agency of New Jersey, as well as each independent State authority, that receives COVID-19 Recovery Funds or administers a COVID-19 Recovery Program
COVID-19 Oversight Integrity Monitors: a contractor who oversees the disbursement of COVID-19 Recovery Funds and/or the administration of a COVID-19 Recovery Program
How can YOU help?
If you have any information about the fraud, waste, or abuse of COVID-19 relief funds, we want to hear from you. You can contact us through OSC’s online complaint form, by email at ComptrollerTips@osc.nj.gov, or by calling our toll-free hotline, 1-855-OSC-TIPS. Together, we can hold New Jersey accountable!
Waste or Abuse
Waste or Abuse