Assembly Republicans Ask Speaker To Launch Policy Conversation
To Fix Bi-State Agencies Before Bad Habits Return
 

Assembly Republicans Amy Handlin, Michael Patrick Carroll and Holly Schepisi sent a letter to Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto this afternoon urging him to open Assembly discussions to reform the way bi-state agencies, such as the Port Authority, operate. 

“Immediate reforms are necessary,” said Handlin.  “I’m sure the high profile of the legislative probe has caused people to change their behavior and second guess questionable ‘business as usual’ practices at the Port Authority. However, that atmosphere can dissipate quickly and bad habits can return.” 

The three GOP members of the Legislative Select Committee on Investigation (SCI) sponsored legislation last week offering possible solutions to the way bi-state authorities are structured, overseen, and made more transparent to the public. 

“We need an honest discussion with members from both sides of the aisle.  By addressing the abuses we already understand, we can identify areas of agreement and begin to apply standards of good government that establish much needed oversight and accountability,” concluded Handlin.

A copy of the letter sent to Speaker Prieto today is attached. 

The bills proposed by Republicans include: 

  • A-2856 – Establishes a single chain of command with fixed terms for the Port Authority’s executive director and deputy executive director and requires approval from governors of both New Jersey and New York prior to the employment of the directors. 
  • A-2858 – Requires bi-state authorities to provide advance written notice of any operation or project that is expected to impede the free flow of traffic. 
  • A-2887 – Requires a code of ethics and an acknowledgement by authority board members that they understand their fiduciary responsibilities.  It also requires the implementation of audit recommendations and financial disclosure for each board member and subjects each authority to the state’s Open Public Records Act. 
  • A-2886 – Establishes an Office of the Investigator General within each of four bi-state authorities appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the Senate for one term of 10 years. 
  • A-2857 – Facilitates public disclosure of financial and employee information through the state comptroller regarding revenues, expenses, and debts; number of employees; annual employee compensation; data on pension payments of former employees; and the name and amount of compensation paid to any governmental affairs agent hired.
  • A-2855 – Establishes a new crime of official interference with transportation punishable up to 18 months in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.