Monday, July 6, 2015

Rendell Backs Changes At DRPA After Controversy

Gov. Rendell just released a letter to John Estey, his former chief of staff and now chairman of the Delaware River Port Authority, calling for 16 changes in how the bi-state agency does business after two solid weeks of controversy sparked by complaints from John Dougherty, a local labor leader appointed by Rendell to the DRPA board. Rendell wrote that the "continuing controversy surrounding the issuance of free rides and other 'perks' demand that additional steps must be taken to restore public confidence in the administration of the DRPA."

Rendell Backs Changes At DRPA After Controversy

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Gov. Rendell just released a letter to John Estey, his former chief of staff and now chairman of the Delaware River Port Authority, calling for 16 changes in how the bi-state agency does business after two solid weeks of controversy sparked by complaints from John Dougherty, a local labor leader appointed by Rendell to the DRPA board.  Rendell wrote that the "continuing controversy surrounding the issuance of free rides and other 'perks' demand that additional steps must be taken to restore public confidence in the administration of the DRPA."

Rendell, who worked with DRPA leaders to come up with the proposed changes, suggests:

  • Having the Pennsylvania Auditor General and New Jersey Comptroller audit the agency.
  • Requiring the DRPA to follow the open meetings and public records laws for both states.
  • Eliminate the "caucus system," where board members from Pennsylvania and New Jersey meet in private before public sessions.
  • Require public votes on all contracts signed by the DRPA.
  • Limit the DRPA to hire only one family member of a board member.
  • Prohibit top employees from having outside jobs.
  • Eliminate free E-ZPass transponders and car allowances for employees.

Rendell's letter notes that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who has cast a suspicious eye over the agency, may also have some suggestions.  Rendell and Christie are expected to appear tomorrow at an unrelated news conference, where the DRPA is sure to come up.  You can read Rendell's letter here.

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William Bender, a Drexel graduate who landed at the Daily News in 2007, has covered everything from South Philly mobsters to doomsday hucksters. He occasionally writes about local food trucks and always eats everything on his plate, whether it be a bloody rib eye or a corrupt politician. E-mail tips to benderw@phillynews.com
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David Gambacorta, has been a reporter with the Daily News since 2005, covering crime, police corruption and all of the other bizarre things that happen in Philadelphia. Now he’s covering the 2015 mayor’s race, because he enjoys a good circus just as much as the next guy. He’s always looking to get a cup of coffee. Send news tips and other musings on life to gambacd@phillynews.com
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