Gordon took a similarly cautious stance. “I’m reminded of something that Napoleon supposedly said that ‘one should never attribute to malice that which can be explained by pure incompetence,’” he said, adding that he didn’t know which was at play here. “If it’s incompetence, something’s wrong with the process. How do we fix the process so there’s some kind of checking mechanism or evaluation mechanism so that we catch these situations early on?”
According to the NJ Spotlight investigation, Jersey City also received potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars less than it should have if its generator requests had been treated the same as other municipalities like Rahway and Brick Township. The state’s second largest city received an allocation of less than $160,000, compared to the $825,000 awarded to Newark and $639,000 announced for Elizabeth -- cities of comparable size and flooding history.
Mayor Steven Fulop says city officials will now conduct an assessment, looking closely to see where they were shortchanged in the scoring. “Initially, we were surprised by what the dialogue was between the state and the city, and we were always looking to kind of correct it,” he said. “I think any municipality always feels like they can get more, but, you know, we weren’t in a position nor would we just go out there and make accusations knowing that there were many municipalities that were devastated.”
Asked if the new information that’s come to light changes his perspective, he replied that “It’s become a little more concerning, there’s no question about it.”
Meanwhile, back in Hoboken, Mayor Zimmer issued a diplomatic response tothat there may have been “legitimate human data-input errors” in the scoring process.
“I thank NJ Spotlight and WNYC for their continued in-depth analysis and for demonstrating that investigative journalism is not a lost art,” she said. “I applaud the DEP for publicly acknowledging that serious mistakes were made in the energy allocations that they announced last year and for taking steps to make the necessary corrections. I look forward to seeing the final allocations, and I am confident that when the work is completed and the scoring process is objectively and fairly applied, Hoboken will receive the energy grant funds to which we are entitled.”