In a letter to the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA), Governor Chris Christie today called on the authority to act swiftly to improve transparency and restore public confidence in the bi-state agency by adopting an extensive list of much-needed reforms jointly endorsed by Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, as well as additional reforms separately advocated by the Christie Administration.
"As public officials, it is our responsibility to the people to ensure that government is accountable, transparent and ethical in the conduct of its business. In the light of the recent concerns of abuse and mismanagement at the Delaware River Port Authority, it is clear that reforms are immediately needed from the Board and management of the authority," Governor Christie said. "I am committed to ensuring that these critical reforms outlined are adopted in a timely manner to restore the public's confidence in the authority and I am pleased that Governor Rendell supports reform at the DRPA as well."
Governor Christie and Governor Rendell agree that significant policy changes be implemented immediately, including.
* Full oversight, review and audit of the Authority's budget and performance by the Pennsylvania Auditor General (or an outside auditor) and the New Jersey Comptroller
* Compliance with Open Public Meeting and Records Acts and Sunshine Acts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey
* Elimination of the existing separate state caucus system to allow for more public transparency
* Enacting a "no gifts" policy for Board members which clarifies that no Commissioner or employee of the Authority or a family member shall solicit or accept any gift or anything of value for personal benefit
* Elimination of all free toll/fare perks for employees and retirees
* Elimination of all car allowances
* In addition, Governor Christie is proposing several other critical reforms:
* Requiring that all charitable contributions be presented to the Board for approval by resolution
* Strengthening the Board Conflict of Interest policy to make clear that Commissioners and employees may not use DRPA time or resources to pursue any political activities
* Clarifying the newly proposed Political Contributions policy as being consistent with the New Jersey pay-to-play law P.L. 2005, ch. 51 by requiring vendors and vendor principals to disclose all political contributions made within the past four years
In his letter, the Governor said he "will continue to scrutinize the actions of the DRPA for adherence to all of these reforms and will not hesitate to exercise my veto authority over any DRPA Board action that does not conform."
A PDF of the letter can be found attached to this release.