At the time the safety inspections were eliminated, Parsons was in the midst of a five-year, $286 million contract it signed in 2008. But it turns out the contract was quietly amended in March 2011. The new contract included a very sweet clause, which basically says that even if the state decreases the cost of the contractor's services, it still has to pay an "equitable adjustment."
But equitable to whom? Certainly not to New Jersey taxpayers, who were basically duped here. And to add insult to the injury, Ray Martinez, who was and is head of the MVC for all this, is now more or less saying, "What? You thought we were going to save $12 million?"
Actually, what Martinez said in a response to the audit is this: "The fact that safety inspections were eliminated and therefore removed from the scope of the contract does not in and of itself translate into a reduction in the contract price."
No? Well, Martinez - and the entire Christie administration - certainly led New Jersey taxpayers to believe they would save that money.
At the time the safety inspections were dropped, Parsons - which has been a major campaign contributor in New Jersey for more than a decade - indicated that it wouldn't fight the change. Now we know why. Even though it no longer had to do the safety inspections, even though this and other changes allowed Parsons to cut 121 lane-technician positions, the company knew it wasn't about to lose $12 million.
After all, Parsons knew where it was - in New Jersey.
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