HARTFORD, CT - Furthering his commitment to exercise intrusive leadership and assess the operations and management of the Connecticut Port Authority (CPA), Governor Ned Lamont on Friday announced the implementation of several measures by his administration to ensure continued success of the quasi-public state agency under the highest standards of transparency and fiscal best practices; consummate a historic partnership with the offshore wind industry to make Connecticut the hub of renewable energy development in the Northeast; and provide continued access for traditional maritime commerce in New London and throughout Connecticut’s other ports.
The actions Governor Lamont announced today include:
1. Independent Review of CPA Finances and Management: The governor has directed CPA Acting Chair David Kooris, who sits on the board as a designee of the commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development, to engage an independent firm to audit the authority’s financial and management practices, including recommendations to make the CPA a model of good governance, accountability, and transparency.
In addition, the governor has directed Kooris to work with the independent auditors and retired submarine base commander Captain Paul Whitescarver to ensure that their reviews include the board’s bylaws and internal conflict of interest guidelines, as well as the memorandum of understanding between the CPA and the Connecticut Department of Transportation regarding State Pier operations.
Governor Lamont also plans to work collaboratively with legislative leaders to identify any necessary statutory changes, including the makeup and oversight of the board, as well as examine potential changes in current membership of the board.
2. OPM Secretary to Oversee CPA Finances: The governor has directed the secretary of the Office of Policy and Management to take a direct and active part in the financial decisions of the CPA board through her official position on the board as well as her role as the state’s chief fiscal officer. The governor expects the secretary to have active involvement in and oversight of any financial decisions made by staff until completion of the independent audit and the management review.
3. Prioritize Wind Deal: The governor has directed Kooris and his other appointees who are ex-officio voting members to hold all board business that is not directly related to moving the offshore wind deal forward or to honoring existing contracts until after completion of the Harbor Development Agreement and completion of the independent audit and management review. This will ensure timely review and execution of an historic partnership that will make Connecticut the center of the Northeastern offshore wind industry and greatly increase economic potential at the State Pier for decades to come.
4. Governor Accepts Resignation of CPA Board Member Scott Bates: The governor today noted with appreciation for his outstanding record of selfless and honest service the resignation of former CPA chair Scott Bates from the board. Bates was instrumental in the formation of the CPA as its first chair and in the major successes it has had in its first few years. In addition to being the driving force behind recruiting the offshore wind industry to Connecticut, Bates led negotiation of a 20-year port operations contract that attracted substantial private investment to the State Pier, more than doubled its revenues, and ensured a steady and increasing income stream for the City of New London.