TRENTON – The state Comptroller issued a report today lauding the N.J. Turnpike Authority for cost-saving reforms made in response to a 2010 audit.
Among other things, the Comptroller applauded the Turnpike Authority for reducing health insurance costs, reforming procurement procedures, and eliminating wasteful spending.
In its October 2010 audit, the Comptroller found unjustified employee bonuses, annual sick leave payouts and an employee relations account used to pay unnecessary costs such as sponsoring an employee bowling league.
The Turnpike Authority eliminated the bonuses and payouts for management and non-union workers, while modifying contracts to address the issues regarding toll collectors.
Changes regarding health care coverage are expected to generate savings of $3 million to $5 million over a three-year period, according to the Comptroller’s office.
State Comptroller Matthew Boxer said in a release that “While there is more work to be done, Turnpike officials have made real improvements to their operations that are leading to cost savings and more efficient use of public toll dollars.”
In the 2010 report, the Comptroller found that more than $12 million over four years could have been saved had the Turnpike Authority used the State Health Benefits Program, and about $30 million had been paid over two years in bonuses or payouts “that did not appear to be in the public interest.”
The Comptroller said that the Turnpike Authority has made significant progress in addressing the 2010 report.
One recommendation that remains unaddressed, the Comptroller’s office stated, concerns limiting total compensation for the Authority executive director and other managers.
“The Authority has not adopted a specific limit on managerial compensation at this time. Bills have been introduced in both the State Senate and Assembly that would limit the compensation of officers and employees of independent State authorities.
“Authority management stated to us that the Authority is awaiting final resolution of these bills before designing an Authority-specific policy in this regard.”