Turnpike CEO: Reforms 'better late than never'
TO NEW ERA EDITORS:
I can't say I blame some for feeling skeptical about our efforts to improve accountability here ("Turnpike chief's feigned outrage," March 26 New Era editorial), but I'd like to remind you that the drive for change already started before I arrived.
And I want to reassure readers that we've begun to implement the new measures I introduced on March 18.
Before I came on board, the Turnpike Commission instituted a more rigorous, transparent process for awarding contracts to ensure that only the most-qualified firms are considered and hired. In 2012, the commission created an Office of Compliance to make sure that employee actions remain above reproach; in 2011, the commission formed a Diversity and Inclusion Department to attract a broader pool of business partners.
Still, I knew I'd face challenges when I accepted the position of CEO; certainly, I would not have taken the job if I thought it was too late, as your editorial contends. But my words since Attorney General Kane's March 13 announcement have led to deeds, and the process of earning back the public's trust has begun.
Earlier this week, our compliance office started a thorough review of contracts awarded during the time frame in question, and I committed additional resources that will enable them to do it right. And we have begun recruiting delegates -- both from inside and outside this agency -- to serve on an advisory group that will examine and critique Turnpike policies on procurement. My aim is to hold the first advisory group meeting in 45 days.
In the two months I've been here, I have seen a great desire for positive change within the Turnpike Commission. I remain personally driven to bring that change. In the past weeks, I've thoroughly read the attorney general's presentment more than once, and I continue to be sickened by the charges -- especially those involving former employees. I assure you that my resolve is stronger than ever to redouble initiatives that were in place when I arrived to improve the way we do business.
I understand the significant challenges that lie ahead for this organization, but I have a team in place that's prepared to confront them head on. The Turnpike Commission has made great strides the past two years; but all involved realize we are just getting started.
Some might believe it's too little too late, but I believe it's better late than never. Our customers, our employees and our business partners deserve no less.
Mark P. Compton, CEO
Pa. Turnpike Commission