Auditor General DePasquale Supports Two-State, Bipartisan Efforts to Reform the Delaware River Port Authority

April 24 2014
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Auditor General DePasquale Supports Two-State, Bipartisan Efforts to Reform the Delaware River Port Authority

CAMDEN, NJ (April 24, 2014) – Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said today that he supports a proposal by legislative leaders in Pennsylvania and New Jersey that will improve transparency, accountability and good governance at the Delaware River Port Authority.

“This no nonsense reform proposal reflects my longstanding philosophy toward open and responsive government,” DePasquale said. “These changes would certainly serve as a reminder that the DRPA’s fundamental mission is to provide safe, reliable and affordable transportation.

“I do recognize and appreciate that DRPA has made improvements since the late 2000s, but it is clear that more needs to be done and those changes must be imbedded in both our states’ statutes so we never have to revisit the old days of DRPA.”

DePasquale has advocated for reforms at DRPA since joining the board of commissioners in January 2013 when he became Auditor General of Pennsylvania.

The proposal, which has bi-partisan support in both states, calls for conducting the public’s business in a more open manner, making the DRPA subject to right-to-know laws and establishes clearer purchasing and operating practices.

Among the reforms proposed:

  • banning employees, officers and board members from accepting gifts associated with their official agency function, receiving toll exemptions and vehicle allowances, and obtaining personal lines of credit from the DRPA;
  • subjecting DRPA to Pennsylvania and New Jersey ‘sunshine’ and employee relations acts and open records policies;
  • requiring an independent financial, performance and compensation review by outside auditors approved by the Pennsylvania auditor general and New Jersey controller;
  • mandating that board members file annual statements of financial interest; 
  • prohibiting hiring of immediate family members of current commissioners, officers, directors, or employees;
  • prohibiting political activities using DRPA resources and requiring current and prospective vendors to disclose their political contributions;
  • banning outside employment for officers and upper-level employees during their tenure at DRPA; and
  • instituting best practices for procurement, including requiring a 30-day public notice period before voting on a contract.

“These are real and necessary reforms needed to gain back the public trust in DRPA,” DePasquale said. “DRPA tolls must be directed toward eliminating delays, improving our bridges and rail lines and providing for more efficient transit for the people of southeastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey.”

The DRPA is administered by a 16-member board of commissioners — eight from each state. They are appointed by their respective governors, except for the Pennsylvania auditor general and treasurer, who are ex-officio members.

The DRPA is a regional transportation agency serving the people of Southeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey. DRPA owns and operates the PATCO (Port Authority Transit Corp.) commuter rail line, the RiverLink Ferry, the Benjamin Franklin, Walt Whitman, Commodore Barry, and Betsy Ross bridges.


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