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Audit of N.J. Turnpike Authority finds $43M in waste during tough economy

By Mike Frassinelli |

Bonuses for shoveling snow or working on a birthday. Public toll dollars used to pay for an employee bowling league. Free E-ZPass transponders for the commute to and from work. An audit by the state comptroller found $43 million in waste at the New Jersey Turnpike Authority during the heart of the Great Recession in 2008-09, according to results released today. Much of the waste followed toll hikes at the end of 2008, state Comptroller Matthew Boxer said. "While tolls are going up, the Turnpike Authority is overpaying its employees, overpaying its management, overpaying for its health plan and overpaying for legal services," Boxer said.

Boxer said the audit found that the authority, which oversees the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway, gave about $30 million in bonuses to employees and management without consideration of performance. Even after they were paid overtime for removing snow, individual employees were given an additional $1,000 to $1,700 "snow bonus," costing the authority $268,000 collectively in 2008-09.

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