Sen. Logan Backs Proposal to Increase Transparency, Oversight of State Quasi-Publics

February 11, 2020

Sen. George S. Logan on Feb. 11 announced his support for the Connecticut Senate Republicans’ package of legislative proposals to increase transparency and oversight at Connecticut’s quasi-public agencies.


“This is about protecting the Connecticut taxpayers,” Sen. Logan said.  “We are sick and tired of seeing our tax dollars mismanaged and wasted.  We need to enact tighter controls, increase oversight, inject more transparency, and bring better accountability to these agencies.  These solutions provide that pathway. With the most recent scandals at the Connecticut Port Authority and Connecticut Lottery Corporation, these issues can no longer be ignored by those in charge.  We need to enact reforms, and I hope these proposals will receive bipartisan support.”


Sen. Logan and Senate Republicans called on state leaders to stop creating and funding new quasi-public agencies until these protections are approved and enacted.


This summer, a series of scandals surrounding the Connecticut Port Authority came to light and were detailed by state auditor reports that found Port Authority officials misused funds to purchase meals and liquor, incurred excessive legal fees and lacked administrative, financial or ethics-related policies. Also in the news again this year, the CT Lottery Corporation has faced problems stemming from lottery game errors and its treatment of employees.


In recent years, quasi-publics have also come under fire for questionable severance payments, including: the CT Lottery Corporation, the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority for a $250,000 severance payment made to the former president/executive director, Access Health CT for severance payments of over $376,000 for four senior level managers, and the Connecticut Green Bank for multiple severance packages questioned by state auditors.


Three quasi-publics, the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority, the Capitol Region Development Authority and the Connecticut Port Authority, also have a history of failing to cooperate with requests to share basic financial data with the State Comptroller required for the state’s transparency website.


The policy proposals Senate Republicans are submitting to the legislature this year are detailed below:


  1. Require submission of quasi-public agency separation agreements and contracts with an annual cost of over $50,000 or a duration of five years or greater to the Attorney General for review and comment before entering into or renewing any such contracts.


  1. Eliminate the State Code of Ethics carve out for quasi-publics regarding contracts with immediate family members. This change will strengthen the code of ethics application in quasi publics to prevent family members of employees from inappropriately benefiting financially through employment or contracts awarded.


  1. If any appointment has not been filled for 3 months, the Board of any quasi-public must send notice to those responsible for making appointment. If an appointment is not filled for more than 6 months after that, allow the Board to fill any such open appointment.


  1. Require all quasi publics to submit all salaries to the Comptroller’s office, OFA and committee of cognizance annually.


  1. Require all quasi-publics to submit any salary proposed that will exceed more than $200,000 or higher or a 5% or higher salary increase to the committee of cognizance. If no committee of cognizance, require such information be sent to the Appropriations Committee. Committees will review prior to salary becoming effective.


  1. Require each quasi-public to report annually to the committee of cognizance and appear before such committee to answer questions regarding such report.  The form and substance required in the report shall be set forth by OPM.


  1. Require all quasi-public agencies to submit financials to the Comptroller for disclosure on CORE.


  1. Require an Office of Policy and Management (OPM) designee to be on any finance committee of the board of any quasi-public entity.


  1. Charge the Department of Administrative Services with developing off the shelf policies and procedures that can be used by all quasi-publics with little modification.


  1. Extend Attorney/Client Privilege to members of the General Assembly, and its staff, State Auditors and the office of the Attorney General so that privilege is not waived by sharing materials with any of the entities.


  1. Require each quasi-public to report specified information annually to the Governor, Auditors of Public Accounts and Office of Fiscal Analysis.