In 2011 there was great debate over the management of the Lacey School District Solar Panel Project.
At that time Regina Discenza, myself and other members of our community warned the School Board that the Solar Panel Project was grossly mismanaged. Of course the Board of Education and the School Administration denied their mismanagement and numbers were tossed about in a manner that only served to confuse the public.
The debate is now over. The Office of the State Controller – Investigation Division (Mach 2014) determined that the Lacey Board of Education’s lack of District oversight resulted in mismanagement of the Lacey Solar Panel Project.
Specifically, the Lacey School District awarded a non-competitive contract to an architectural firm that had no prior experience with Solar Panel Projects. The firm overestimated the cost of the project by $8,240,000. Approximately 70% of the overestimated project cost was due to a lack of District oversight and 30% was due to a downturn in the economy. The overstated project cost resulted in the unnecessary expenditures of (1) $4,717,576 paid by the State, (2) $3,500,000 paid by the Lacey taxpayer for additional interest and (3) $455,000 paid to the architectural firm.
This criticism of the Boards mismanagement is not hindsight. The Board was warned of their mismanagement prior to the award of contract. The State has performed the investigation and the debate is over – at taxpayer expense almost $9,000,000 of tax payer dollars was unnecessarily spent.
To obtain a copy of the State investigation - Roy.Palczewski@yahoo.com.
Thomas R. Palczewski
Former Lacey Township Board Member
Franklin Park, NJ