Says Important Public Oversight Hindered by Murphy Administration Secrecy
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean will introduce legislation to improve transparency at independent agencies and authorities of the State, including New Jersey Transit, the Turnpike Authority, the Motor Vehicle Commission, the Schools Construction Corporation, and the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority.
Sen. Tom Kean will introduce legislation to improve transparency at independent State agencies, including NJ Transit, to reverse the Murphy Administration’s attempt to limit information and hinder public oversight. (SenateNJ.com)
“Despite a crisis of mismanagement at New Jersey Transit that calls for greater scrutiny of its operations, the Murphy Administration has stemmed the flow of critical information to make it more difficult for the public and the media to act as watchdogs,” said Kean. “This new level of secrecy is designed to hinder oversight, which is contrary to the Governor’s promise to increase transparency. A legislative solution is called for that forces the shadow governments at New Jersey’s expansive independent agencies and authorities into the light.”
A recent report by WNYC detailed how the Murphy Administration has replaced the detailed information that was once provided in public agendas for NJ Transit board meetings with little more than brief descriptions, making it increasingly difficult to understand the purpose and cost of proposals under consideration.
Kean said the drastic reduction is clearly evident in a comparison of the agenda for Transit’s most recent board meeting on September 12, 2018 with the agenda from a meeting a year earlier on September 7, 2017.
According to WNYC, the Murphy Administration defended limiting the release of information by claiming that other agencies operate in a similar fashion.
“The Murphy Administration is wrong to suggest that rolling back transparency at one agency is justified because others haven’t been held to the same standard,” said Kean. “The solution is to increase accountability at all of the institutions where it is lacking. Legislative action is clearly needed to guarantee that uniform standards of increased transparency are achieved across the board.”
The new legislation being drafted by Kean will increase transparency at the State’s independent agencies by requiring the release of detailed agendas and supporting documentation to ensure the opportunity for appropriate public review.
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