NJ NY Port Authority

Govs demand accountability from Port Authority

The governors of New Jersey and New York are demanding the Port Authority conduct its multi-billion dollar transportation operations in a far more open and ethical fashion, adhering to accountability rules that long have applied to other public agencies.

Jon Corzine and Eliot Spitzer want the bi-state agency to change some of its ways, after decades of being allowed to conduct most of its business behind closed doors with minimal oversight.

"Public confidence in government rests on governing bodies and officials conducting their affairs in a way that is fair, transparent, efficient and ethical,'' Corzine and Spitzer wrote in a letter being sent to the agency's board of commissioners that was provided to the press.

The Port Authority prepares for an era of fewer secrets

After conducting most of its business behind closed doors for 85 years, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is promising a new era of open meetings and greater public disclosure.

Port Authority Chairman Anthony Coscia said yesterday the multibillion-dollar transportation agency will welcome far greater scrutiny of its actions: Votes will be taken openly, time will be set aside for comment from the public, and closed sessions will be limited.

Port Authority: The lavish, secretive workings of the PA $5B agency cuts deals far from the public eye

They have been known to spend a billion dollars in an afternoon, hire their own retired executives for six-figure consultant deals, hand out 22 percent pay hikes, lease land, fix bridges and pay for $300,000 parties.

All in secret.

Operating in a governmental twilight zone, they work mostly behind closed doors, immune from state and federal open public meeting rules even though their decisions affect millions of people.

"They operate without transparency or accountability," said New York Assemblyman Richard Brodsky.

The mysterious people in question are the 12 commissioners of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, who meet 10 times a year to award consulting and construction contracts for public transportation projects.