Photo of Senator Leone.

State Senator

Carlo Leone

Representing Stamford & Darien

Follow Senator Last: Facebook icon.Twitter icon.flickr icon.YouTube icon.

Leone and Lemar Respond to Counterproductive Letter on Connecticut Port Authority

Transportation Committee Chairs Cite 3 Active Investigations Set to Conclude in the Near Term

HARTFORD, CT - Today, Senate Chair of the Transportation Committee State Senator Carlo Leone (D-Stamford) and House Chair of the Transportation Committee State Representative Roland Lemar (D-New Haven) responded to a recent letter regarding the Connecticut Port Authority from Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano (R-North Haven).

In the letter, the Chairs of the Transportation Committee criticize Senator Fasano's call for “the immediate need for further hearing” on the Connecticut Port Authority as "counterproductive" citing three active examinations which are "presently underway with final reports and conclusions are due in the near term."

After outlining the numerous actions that have been taken regarding the examination of the conduct at the Port Authority, the co-Chairs state "our charge as legislators is to review the conclusions of these examinations and fashion legislative solutions as warranted."

The Transportation Committee leaders reinforce that "The Port Authority is a vital engine in the development of Connecticut’s economic future" but understand the "concerns raised about the operation of the Authority are legitimate and troubling."

Finally, the co-Chairs conclude that they "will continue to act in a measured, deliberate and thoughtful manner, following the facts wherever they lead."

The full letter is below.

Senator Fasano,

We are in receipt of your letter dated October 9th concerning the Connecticut Port Authority and wish to share with you the following:

In your letter you suggest “the immediate need for further hearing,” however, based on a review of the objective facts, an immediate hearing would be counterproductive. Three active examinations are presently underway with final reports and conclusions are due in the near term.

As Senate Minority Leader you of course realize that while the committee has the authority to conduct in-depth inquires, it does not function as a grand jury, nor is it the appropriate forum for employee complaints. Additionally (C.G.S. 15-31a & 15-31b) makes it extremely clear that the Port Authority duties, powers and oversight rest in its Board of Directors. As a quasi-public agency, the legislature has limited oversight, and the Governor and the executive branch have a broader, but still limited scope. We deliberately granted that power to the board when we created it to allow it to act in a more nimble manner fashion as the bipartisan legislation intended.

A chronology of some significant events regarding examination of the conduct at the Port Authority make it clear that the need for another hearing is premature:

  • On July 24th - the Port Authority retained retired naval Captain (and former Groton sub base commander) Paul Whitescarver to look at the management and financial operations of the Port Authority and its board of directors.
  • On August 9th - Governor Lamont ordered an independent third party audit of the Port Authority’s financial and management practices.
  • Also on August 9th - Governor Lamont ordered the Secretary of OPM to have “active involvement in and oversight of” the Port Authority’s finances.
  • On August 20th - The Transportation Committee held an over five-hour informational forum regarding the Port Authority and received extensive information from the Auditors, Acting Port Authority Chairman David Kooris, and the Lamont administration. There was also extensive discussion about the three other examinations of the Port Authority operations, management and finances which were presently underway.
  • On August 29th - the Attorney General offered “any assistance we can” into the operations of the Port Authority and the three active examinations.
  • On September 10th - Port Authority acting Chair David Kooris held a bi-partisan meeting for elected officials regarding the Authority and the New London State Pier Renewable Energy Project.
  • On September 17th - the Port Authority held a public forum in New London to discuss their operations and the New London State Pier/Eversource/Orsted Renewable Energy Project. The forum was well attended by the public, had numerous public speakers, and was covered extensively by the media. It also was attended by Senators Osten, Needleman, Formica and Somers – as well as a number of State Representatives, and members of the Governor’s office, all of whom spoke at the forum.
  • On October 15th - The Auditors, in order to finalize the 2018-2019 audit, requested additional information from the Port Authority. They anticipate a delivery date of that final report within the next few weeks.
  • On October 18th – As requested by the Chairs of the Transportation Committee, the Acting Chair of the Port Authority provided the Transportation Committee with an update on actions completed and initiated since the August 20th informational forum.

The Port Authority is a vital engine in the development of Connecticut’s economic future, a fact that has been widely noted by all parties on numerous occasions. As you are aware, our charge as legislators is to review the conclusions of these examinations and fashion legislative solutions as warranted. The concerns raised about the operation of the Authority are legitimate and troubling - and just as we stated in our August informational forum, we will continue to act in a measured, deliberate and thoughtful manner, following the facts wherever they lead. We appreciate your continued interest and bi-partisan support in that regard.

Senator Carlo Leone -27th Representative Roland Lemar -96th Stamford, Darien New Haven, East Haven

HOME

SENATE LEADERSHIP

NEWS & MEDIA

SITE LANGUAGE

CONTACT US

Legislative Office Building
Room 3300
Hartford, CT 06106-1591

Phone: 860-240-8600
Toll-free in CT: 1-800-842-1420
FAX: 860-240-0208

For general inquiries (will not be seen by legislators): info@senatedems.ct.gov

E-newsletter Signup

FOLLOW US

Facebook icon.Twitter icon.instagram icon.flickr icon.YouTube icon.

LINKS