OCC Releasing Purchasing Documents
Amidst a heated legal back and forth between Ocean County College and NJEA Representative Chris Berzinski, OCC is placing all of the documents involving by former purchasing department employee recommendations and supervisor’s responses available for public record.
The move stems from an original accusation Mr. Berzinski made against Ocean County President Jon H. Larson and the purchasing department over claims of impropriety regarding the awards processes for purchasing contracts. Berzinski claimed to have the corroborating evidence from a former employee of the purchasing department as well.
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The college issued a formal mandate admonishing the statements made by Berzinski as untrue and said they will pursue legal options if necessary and are demanding an apology from the NJEA rep. Berzinski in the meantime has not made any formal apology and has filed a new Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request with OCC for records related to a lawsuit filed against the former purchasing department employee.
Several of the documents are the same as those requested through a prior OPRA lawsuit by Berzinski and other members of the College Faculty Association were dismissed by the Ocean County Superior Court last month.
Ocean County College claims the documents being requested are not required to be disclosed through OPRA; however due to intent by Mr. Berzinski to request additional similar records, the college says they are releasing all of the documents to prevent legal cost and demonstrate their transparency of the situation.
According a press release issued today by Ocean County College, it states that Mr. Berzinski’s newest threat to file a lawsuit for the documents is “implying that the College has something to hide.” The release stated unequivocally that “nothing can be further from the truth.”
Additionally the release stated the College acted in compliance with the County College procurement law, and noted “the Board of Trustees, the President, and the procurement staff welcome an assessment of the legality of the college’s purchasing transactions by any legitimate authority.”