The State Commission of Investigation (SCI) has issued a report calling for a major overhaul of local government procurement practices concerning fire trucks. The report stated that the “dysfunctional hallmark of this system is heavy reliance by local officials on ‘proprietary’ design specifications written by fire truck manufacturers” that favor trucks made by the manufacturer providing the specifications. The report also discussed conflict of interest issues in some local fire truck procurement practices.
To remedy the situation, the SCI recommends direct involvement and oversight of the local fire truck procurement process by the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) and the development of generic, non-proprietary truck design specifications for use by local authorities. The public disclosure of all component costs and the amendment of the Local Government Ethics Law to make it clear that its requirements apply to paid and volunteer fire personnel were also recommended.