The analysis focused on DRPA's administrative and support functions and its public-safety and homeland-security departments. It was commissioned by the agency's board in 2011 as part of a broad effort to overhaul DRPA management practices and to improve efficiency and openness.
A six-person "strategic planning committee" will review the findings and report within 60 days on how to make many of the suggested changes, Board Chairman David Simon said Monday.
Among the auditors' recommendations:
Provide DRPA police officers on the bridges and PATCO police officers radios that operate on the same frequency.
End the management rift between the agency's police and homeland-security departments. Give the police chief the lead role in cases involving natural disasters or terrorist incidents, and focus the director of homeland security on gathering intelligence and seeking funding grants.
Transfer some duties now handled by sworn DRPA police officers to civilians or officers with less extensive training.
Upgrade computer and business-administration systems.
Bring salaries in line with pay grades; in some cases, this would mean raises for nonunion employees who have gone three years without increases.
Improve employee safety. Despite recent improvements, the DRPA compares poorly to other construction and transportation agencies in the number of on-the-job injuries.
Give professional engineers a path to higher-paying jobs without requiring them to become managers.
Establish a position to improve management-labor interactions.
Increase the staff of the new office of inspector general, charged with rooting out waste, fraud, and abuse at the DRPA.
The auditors praised the agency's engineering and finance departments, but said that overall, there was "no well-defined structure for improving the DRPA's processes.
"As a consequence, disconnected divisional systems are implemented," they said, "and departments become silos."
They noted that suggestions contained in previous audits and critiques had not been implemented by top DRPA managers, and that benefits to be derived from the new recommendations would "depend on close attention to the follow-through by the authority."
This time will be different, vowed Simon, who said the committee reviewing the report was chaired by the chief financial officer, John Hanson, and board members Joanna Cruz and Tamarisk Jones. Also on the panel are assistant PATCO general manager Cheryl Spicer and board members Richard Sweeney and Walter D'Alessio.
Robert Teplitz, who formerly represented Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner on the board, praised the auditors' work.
"My only hope is that the board takes it seriously," he said Monday. "The last thing you want to do is issue an audit and have it sit on a shelf."
Implementing all of their recommendations would cost about $2 million in one-time charges and about $1.5 million a year, the auditors' said.
The next scheduled review will look at PATCO and bridge operations. The DRPA is required by its charter to conduct management audits every five years, but the board voted in 2010 to increase that frequency to every two years.
The DRPA audit is available at: www.drpa.org/managementaudit
Contact Paul Nussbaum
at 215-854-4587 or email@example.com