Sunday, July 13, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

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

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.

About this blog
Chris Brennan, a native Philadelphian and graduate of Temple University, joined the Daily News in 1999. He has written about SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the legalization of casino gambling, state government, the mayor, the governor, City Council and political campaigns. E-mail tips to brennac@phillynews.com
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Jenny DeHuff is a 2005 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she cut her teeth in journalism. A South Philly transplant from New England, she joined the Daily News City Hall Bureau in 2013. For the past several years, she has worked as an investigative reporter exposing corruption in suburban politics, covering sometimes ghastly criminal court cases and following the people’s money and how its spent. In addition to being a dogged news hound, she enjoys reading and writing about travel, animals, Irish whiskey and aviation. E-mail tips to dehuffj@phillynews.com
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Sean Collins Walsh is from Bucks County and went to Northwestern University. He joined the Daily News copy desk in 2012 and now covers the Nutter administration. Before that, he interned at papers including The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News and The Seattle Times. E-mail tips to walshSE@phillynews.com
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