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Covering Hamilton and Robbinsville townships in-depth for The Trentonian. I can be reached at (609) 989-7800 ext. 207 or (609) 468-6962. Email me at or follow me @awisefool.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

In wake of Bencivengo scandal, Citizens Campaign proposes new bidding law

A statewide commuity group has taken another step in its efforts to reform the way Hamilton township gives out its contracts.

In a letter sent Thursday, the Citizens Campaign gave the township model ordinances for bidding professional service contracts, such as engineering, and insurance contracts. At a meeting in December, several council members said to the organization's representatives, Connie Silakoski and Steve Cook, that they would look at formalizing the township's process for bidding contracts.

"Now would be a great time to introduce this major cost-cutting reform. As you have stated, the budget development process is now upon you. By adopting these reforms as first order of business of the New Year, you will send a clear message that your administration will be run honestly and efficiently with the taxpayers’ interest at heart," the letter said.

The letter comes in the wake of the resignation of former Hamilton Mayor John Bencivengo, who resigned after being found guilty of federal corruption charges related to the Hamilton Board of Education health insurance broker.

The Citizens Campaign letter said the process had saved other municipalities from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars

"To our pleasant surprise, you even exclaimed a collective desire to expand the reforms," the letter said. "Given the recent debacle with Birdsall Engineering, we are sure you may find this relevant."

The ordinances would send contracts for professional services and insurance out for public bidding. The township already follows this practice but not adopting the ordinance would, in the words of the letter "allow for successive elected officials to ignore your past practices."


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