DRPA Safety Chief Fined & Suspended After E-ZPass Complaint

Mike Joyce, the chief public safety officer for the Delaware River Port Authority, has been suspended for three days and had to pay the agency $600 for using in his family car the E-ZPass unit assigned to another agency official. The action by DRPA Executive Director John Matheussen comes after John Dougherty, a local union leader and DRPA board member, repeatedly raised questions about that and other issues. See today's story on that here.

Matheussen said Joyce confirmed to him that he had been using the E-ZPass unit assigned to John Lawless, a former Pennsylvania legislator who served as the DRPA corporate secretary. Lawless, who is still on the payroll, was escorted from the building in April for reasons that remain unclear. Matheussen said Lawless was not using his E-ZPass unit and offered it to Joyce, who has been using it since October 2008.

"There could be some room for interpretation but in my opinion at the end of the day it did not sustain good judgment between the two of them," said Matheussen. DRPA employees below the rank of executive director are allowed 100 free trips per year across one of the four bridges the agency maintains over the Delaware River. Matheussen said the $600 payment, which Joyce made to the DRPA last week, represented a year and a half of free trips.

Joyce is paid $180,081 per year along with a $9,000 car allowance. His three day suspension amounts to about $2,000 in lost pay, Matheussen said.

Dougherty has been on a tear for more than a week, firing off angry letters complaining about a lack of answers to questions he has posed on issues like executive pay and hiring practices. He has been attempting to land a high-level position in the DRPA Department of Public Safety for the brother of a business agent from his union, Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.