The Jersey City Council renewed a $322,920 for an accounting firm that serves as their independent auditor, with Ward E Councilman James Solomon the lone no vote, citing multiple delinquencies and potential conflicts of interest.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Secaucus-based Donohue, Girona, Doria and Tomkins, LLC had an annual $322,920 contract renewed by a 7-1 vote, beginning on June 24th, with the city having the ability to renew for two additional one-year terms.
Solomon explained that he voted against the measure because their audits of the municipal budget have been regularly late and they have also made a number of political donations, including $5,000 to Coalition for Progress back on February 24th, a super PAC linked to Mayor Steven Fulop.
“At one point, their audit came 14 months after the end of the calendar year, violating state law—which requires audits to be completed up to six months after the end of a fiscal year,” he said in a statement.
“Second, Donohue, Gironda, Doria and Tomkins, LLC has made several donations to political candidates and super PACs throughout Hudson County and the country. Because they are required to be independent, nonpartisan auditors, a conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest puts the integrity of their work into question.”
He also cited this year’s “unprecedented tax increases” in the $695 million budget, which was introduced last night unanimously (8-0), as a reason that independent auditors are needed at this time.
Prior to voting no, Solomon also noted that this contract is one of the few that falls under the council’s authority, therefore he said it made sense to have a competitive bidding process for the contract next year.
The measure was largely an afterthought at last night’s meeting that only lasted for a little over an hour and the most substantive discussion was related to local legislation on gun violence.