Marc Pfeiffer Weighs in on Essex County COVID-19 Funding Issues

April 17, 2024

Essex County pushed hard and fast to get its residents vaccinated against COVID-19. Ultimately, the county administered more than 622,000 vaccinations. But a report released Tuesday by the acting state comptroller says problems plagued how the county spent some of its $40 million in federal COVID-19 funding.

Marc Pfeiffer, assistant director of the Bloustein Local Government Research Center at Rutgers University, said Essex County officials legitimately used emergency no-bid contracts to make quick decisions as they confronted blocked supply chains during the pandemic. But, according to the state comptroller’s report, Essex County over-used that perk and violated public bidding rules. It made 15 payments totaling more than $870,000 with no invoices; spent $17 million on extra workers without properly recording whether they all showed up; paid one staffer $130,000 but never explained what she did; and paid a robocall vendor an extra $110,000, something Essex County officials didn’t notice until the comptroller pointed it out.

“Not enough resources were spent to manage those contracts to ensure that controls were in place and there was monitoring done to prevent that type of a circumstance from happening,” Pfeiffer said. “And then, monitoring to see, if it did happen — what do you do about it?’

NJ Spotlight News, April 17, 2024

Recent Posts

MHA program earns CAHME Reaccreditation

The Bloustein School’s Master of Health Administration program has been awarded reaccreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME). “CAHME's mission is to advance the quality of healthcare management education globally....

Courtney Culler Wins Excellence in Student Support Award

Each year, the School of Graduate Studies recognizes the notable achievements of graduate students, faculty, and staff at our annual awards ceremony. These awards recognize important accomplishments in research and scholarship, teaching and mentoring, leadership,...

Rutgers Today Spotlight: Lisa Harrison-Gulla

From Rutgers Today Public Health Career Inspired By Family Legacy and Personal Challenges Lisa Harrison-Gulla began her public health career 30 years ago helping those suffering from addiction in their treatment and recovery. Now, she’s using her experience – along...

NJSPL – Industry Employment Growth in NJ

By Will Irving Unpredictability has been one of the defining features of New Jersey’s labor market for much of the last two years. As the state’s unemployment rate climbed to among the highest in the nation, payroll employment continued to grow steadily before slowing...

MPP Alum Part of WaPo Pulitzer Prize Winning Team

Emily Guskin, MPP '09 and her colleagues at The Washington Post were recently recognized with a Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for their immersive series on the AR-15 rifle in American politics and culture. She is also a 2006 alumnus of the University of...

Upcoming Events

Event Series Informatics

AI Through a Rutgers Lens (Microsoft) Part 3

Microsoft, 885 2nd Avenue, 34th Floor, New York, NY 10017 885 Second Avenue, 34th Floor, New York, NY, United States

Please join us as we explore the world of AI with help from Rutgers experts who wrestle with these questions daily.
Socially Cognizant Robotics: Preparing for a future in which humans and robots regularly interact and society develops new rules.

Jersey City Alumni Mixer

Zeppelin Hall Biergarten 88 Liberty View Dr, Jersey City, New Jersey

Join us for an alumni mixer in #JerseyCity on Thursday, June 6th at Zeppelin Hall Biergarten. Parking for Zeppelin Hall is FREE - more information can be found here: This […]