March 29, 2012-Ineffective oversight and weak policies led to a culture at the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA) in which tollpayer dollars repeatedly were wasted and mismanaged, according to an extensive investigative report released today by the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC).
The OSC report found that the DRPA frequently granted itself such broad discretion and operated under such vague program guidelines that almost any conceivable action or expenditure could be deemed acceptable. In other areas of DRPA operations, the report found appropriate policies and procedures designed to safeguard against the waste of tollpayer funds were avoided or simply ignored.
“In nearly every area we looked at, we found people who treated the DRPA like a personal ATM, from DRPA commissioners to private vendors to community organizations,” State Comptroller Matthew Boxer said. “People with connections at the DRPA were quick to put their hand out when dealing with the agency, and they generally were not disappointed when they did.”
To the DRPA’s credit, Boxer said, the agency recently has corrected or begun to correct a number of the deficiencies identified in the OSC report and some of the programs associated with OSC’s findings have been terminated.
OSC began its investigation in 2010 following a gubernatorial request, which included a request to look specifically at insurance-related payments at the DRPA. What follows are some of the highlights from the 77-page report released today.