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.