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Fairfield Lawmakers Push for Greater Transparency of State Port Authority

Posted on August 21, 2019 by jdooley


HARTFORD- At a public information meeting yesterday, Transportation Committee members State Rep. Brenda Kupchick (R-132), and House ranking member Laura Devlin (R-134) pushed for greater transparency and accountability of the Connecticut Port Authority (CPA) and expressed disappointment that those in leadership positions who were the CPA decision makers refused to come before their legislative committee and explain the finance and mismanagement practices at the quasi-public agency.

The State Auditors of Public Accounts found deficiencies in basic operational and financial controls such as a lack of written procedures, absolutely no accounting records, and inappropriate hiring practices. In addition, there is also pending investigation of a whistleblower complaint of management misuse of funds at the CPA and questionable purchases such as $3,000 in art work from a former board chairwoman’s daughter.

“I am very disappointed that former first CPA Chairman Scott Bates, Second Chairman of the Board of CPA Bonnie Reemsnyder and CPA Executive Director Evan Matthews did not attend today’s forum. These individuals were the decision makers in charge. While it was helpful to hear from those who are working to move the Authority forward, we can’t fix the problem unless we know the extent of the mismanagement issues,” said Rep. Rep. Devlin. “As legislators, we demand accountability and full transparency on behalf of Connecticut taxpayers.”

“All state agencies, including the over two dozen quasi-public agencies that receive state funds require government and public scrutiny,” said Rep. Kupchick. “The taxpayers, especially those in Fairfield contribute a significant amount of their income to the state and we need to make sure there’s transparency and accountability.”

The Connecticut Port Authority was created by the General Assembly and charged given responsibility for development and marketing of the state’s Long Island Sound’s three deep water ports in Bridgeport, New Haven and New London, as well as inland river ports.

Devlin and Kupchick added that the CPA oversight issue is bipartisan concern with State Comptroller Kevin Lembo sending a letter to the governor citing his concerns about CPA contracts and the misuse of taxpayer dollars.

State Auditors are currently completing a second audit of the Authority and the governor has ordered another independent audit. Both Fairfield lawmakers expressed hope that the new CPA Acting Chairman David Kooris will be successful in his work to clean up the agency.