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S 2181 - Increases Oversight of the Port Authority - New Jersey Key Vote

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Title: Increases Oversight of the Port Authority

Vote Smart's Synopsis:

Vote to override a veto of a bill that increases oversight of the Port Authority.

Highlights:

  • Authorizes the Board of Commissioners of the Port Authority to fulfill certain duties, including, but not limited to, the following (Sec. 4):

    • Execute direct oversight of the Port Authority’s chief executive and other management;

    • Adopt a code of ethics applicable to each officer, director, and employee that includes the applicable standards established in the ethics law of both states;

    • Understand, review, and monitor the implementation of fundamental financial and management controls and operational decisions of the authority; and

    • Establish written policies and procedures on personnel, including protection for employees from retaliation for disclosing information concerning acts of wrongdoing or misconduct.

  • Authorizes the board to establish an audit committee comprising of at least 3 independent members to fulfill duties including compensation, oversight of auditing, and recommendation of a certified independent accounting firm (Sec. 4):

  • Defines an “independent member” as an individual who fulfills the following requirements (Sec. 4):

    • Has not been employed by the Port Authority or an affiliate within the past 2 years;

    • Has not been employed by an entity that received more than $15,000 for goods and services provided to the Port Authority;

    • Is not a relative of an executive officer or employee in an executive position of the Port Authority or an affiliate; and

    • Is not a lobbyist registered under a state or local law and paid by a client to influence the management decisions, contract awards, or rate determinations of the Port Authority.

  • Authorizes the board to establish a governance committee, comprising of at least 3 independent members who will fulfill duties including self-evaluations, professional relationship monitoring, and preventing conflicts of interest g (Sec. 4):

  • Prohibits a board member from serving as the Port Authority’s chief executive officer, executive director, chief financial officer, or comptroller while serving on the board (Sec. 4).

 

  • Requires the Port Authority to annually submit to the governor, the state comptroller, and the legislature of each state, reports on the authority’s operations, finances, bookkeeping and other accounting-related documents (Secs. 8-9):

  • Establishes the position of Inspector General, an individual appointed by the board, to fulfill certain duties, including, but not limited to, the following (Secs. 10 & 12):

    • Develop a whistleblower access and assistance program;

    • Receive and investigate complaints from any source, or upon own initiative, concerning allegations of corruption, fraud, criminal activity, conflicts of interest, or abuse in the authority;

    • Establish programs for training officers of port authority and its employees regarding the prevention and elimination of corruption; and

    • Subpoenaing and enforcing the attendance of witnesses.

  • Requires all Port Authority meetings to be open to the public at all times, except in certain situations, including, but not limited to, the following (Sec. 17):

    • The matter discussed would endanger the public safety;

    • Impair a right to receive funds from the United States government; or

    • Involves the employment, appointment, or termination of employment of an individual.

Title: Increases Oversight of the Port Authority

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