The following news release was submitted by Bergen Grassroots:
Matthew M. Boxer, New Jersey’s first State Comptroller and a member of the Governor’s cabinet, was the second recipient of the Byron M. Baer Memorial Award, given by Bergen Grassroots to an individual or group that has contributed significantly to bettering transparency and accountability in county or state government, at the group’s meeting last night (Wednesday, March 28).
The service award was presented to Comptroller Boxer at the Bergen Grassroots meeting in the auditorium of the of Bergen County, 687 Larch Avenue, Teaneck. In a 2-hour meeting, the State official was celebrated in remarks by Jennifer Rothschild of Closter, Bob Gulack of Fair Lawn, Beatrice Burgis of Upper Saddle River and Sabastian Belfon of Cliffside Park. After receiving the award, the Comptroller described the functions of his office, which was created in 2008.
According to the Bergen Grassroots Steering Committee. the award is based on the stunning effectiveness in Bergen County of the Comptroller’s September 15, 2011 report entitled “Procurement Report: Weaknesses in the Pay-to-Play Law’s ‘Fair and Open’ Contracting System.” Coming as it did, at a time when the Bergen County Freeholder Board members were proposing an ordinance containing that precise system, the report triggered a powerful public response, led by Bergen Grassroots, that helped persuade the Freeholders to drop the “fair and open” exclusion version. Instead, they approved a measure that met the requirements of Citizens Campaign of Metuchen, the public-service group that promulgated the model pay-to-play reform ordinance adopted by so many municipalities in the state.
The group’s Byron M. Baer Memorial Award was named to honor a veteran state legislator who, to quote The Record, “championed open government and fought for consumers, the environment and the underdog during 34 years in Trenton.” The first award, in 2010, went to the reporters and editors of The Record for their unwavering support of the campaign to adopt pay-to-play reform at the county level.
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