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|Posted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 11:53 pm Post subject: N.J.'s first comptroller will monitor corruption
|N.J.'s first comptroller will monitor corruption
Saturday, January 19, 2008
BY TOM HESTER
New Jersey has a new government watchdog.
Matthew Boxer was sworn in yesterday as the state's first independent comptroller, a job that will give him the power to audit nearly every level of New Jersey government, from a state department to a local school board.
Gov. Jon Corzine, who stood at Boxer's side as he was sworn in by Supreme Court Chief Justice Stu art Rabner, said the comptroller will also scrutinize the new agency he wants to create to oversee the operation of toll roads under his debt restructuring plan.
"The comptroller will serve a crucial function in New Jersey government from this day forward," Corzine said at the Statehouse ceremony. "He will ensure accountability among all officeholders in this state by examining contracting and spending practices at all levels. And emphatically, the people of New Jersey know we need a watch dog. "
Boxer said he will consider past performance reviews, "referrals," and the size of the agency when se lecting his first budget audits. He said the findings of each audit will be made public.
"I know the creation of this office has been of vital importance to Governor Corzine from day one of his administration," Boxer said. "The task ahead is no doubt a chal lenging one, but I look forward to tackling it with all of the determination and vigilance the people of New Jersey deserve."
Boxer, 37, of Bridgewater, headed Gov. Jon Corzine's Governor's Authorities Unit, which oversees 57 independent state authorities, before gaining the comptroller position.
Before joining the administration, he was an assistant U.S. attor ney in Newark where he guided government corruption investiga tions, including the "Monmouth 11" in 2004 and 2005, which led to the roundup and prosecution of municipal officials who were on the take. He holds a law degree from Columbia University.
Corzine signed legislation creating the Office of the Comptroller last March. Besides auditing government agencies, the comptroller is to monitor government contracts and review the performance of government programs.
"When we designed the vital new position of comptroller, we did it with someone like Matt in mind," Corzine said. "Someone tough, someone smart, someone experienced, and someone of character and integrity."
Tom Hester may be reached at 609-292-0557 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.