Resignation of DRPA Official Calls for Need to Enact Reform Bills Requiring Senate Confirmation of Appointees

The recent resignation of a Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA) Commissioner appointed by Governor Tom Wolf points to the need for Senate confirmation of the Governor’s appointees to DRPA and the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission (DRJTBC) based on legislation introduced by Senator John Rafferty (R-44) and Senator Mario Scavello (R-40), respectively.

Whitney White, who Wolf appointed to the board, resigned recently following the Philadelphia Daily News’ exposure into his bankruptcies, a so-called “think tank” in Northern Liberties and failed corporations that had tried to obtain government properties.

Rafferty sponsored Senate Bill 286 that is part of a comprehensive, bi-state legislative package intended to bring necessary reforms to DRPA including a provision for the Pennsylvania Senate to confirm the Governor’s appointees. The legislation was approved with bipartisan support in the Senate and now awaits House action.

“In a position where toll amounts are levied, significant taxpayer dollars are being allocated and major financial decisions are at stake, a DRPA candidate should be properly reviewed to identify areas of possible concern,” Rafferty said. “I am surprised that Governor Wolf would not embrace a good-government measure that would ensure greater accountability and transparency.”

Additionally, Scavello sponsored Senate Bill 927 that would allow the Pennsylvania Senate confirmation of the Governor’s appointees to DRJTBC, which is a vital step in ensuring that they are held accountable and are acting in the best interest of the Commonwealth. The legislation is in the Senate Transportation Committee and is likely to be considered when the Senate returns in the fall.

“The DRJTBC Commissioners are making decisions that have a significant economic impact on the Commonwealth and its taxpayers.  People appointed to these positions must be qualified, properly vetted and confirmable, and Senate Bill 927 does just that,” said Scavello.  “These Commission members must be held to the highest standard and the taxpayers should expect nothing less.”

Both pieces of legislation mirror existing laws that have been in place in New Jersey whereas the New Jersey Senate provides confirmation to New Jersey’s members on DRPA and DRJTBC that are appointed by their Governor.

Contacts:

Nolan Ritchie, Senator Rafferty’s Office, 717-787-1398
Christine Zubeck, Senator Scavello’s Office, 717-787-6123