Martin wants to rein in quasi-public agencies

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Senator Henri Martin (R-31), ranking member of the Transportation Committee, joined Senate and House Republicans at a press conference Tuesday, Feb. 11 to put forward recommendations to increase transparency and oversight of Connecticut’s quasi-public agencies.

Martin said in a press release, “The quasi-public agencies have operated too long without any check or balance. Now with the Governor’s plan to turn the state pier over to the Port Authority, especially given their recent indiscretions, we need to stand up and say, ‘Enough.’”

Martin said in the release, “Today the Republicans presented actual reforms to rein in the quasi-public agencies. While they have more latitude than a typical state agency, they still need to be transparent and accountable to the legislature. These agencies perform necessary functions and manage real state dollars. It’s time to demand facts and figures and stop the floodgates of misappropriated funds and inflated salaries and payments,” added Sen. Martin.

Republicans are proposing:

Requiring 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.

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Eliminating 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.

If any appointment has not been filled for three 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 six months after that, allow the board to fill any such open appointment.

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

Requiring 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 requires such information be sent to the Appropriations Committee. Committees will review prior to salary becoming effective.

Requiring 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.

Requiring all quasi-public agencies to submit financials to the comptroller for disclosure on CORE.

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

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

Extending 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.

Requiring each quasi-public to report specified information annually to the governor, auditors of public Accounts and Office of Fiscal Analysis.

Henri Martin represents the residents of the 31st Senatorial District, which includes Bristol, Harwinton, Plainville, Plymouth and Thomaston.