Butler County's great daily newspaper

Reviewing ‘Pike’ pacts

March 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor

As the CEO of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, I would like to respond to the Butler Eagle’s March 18 editorial about the steps taken by the state attorney general’s office relating to our agency (“Turnpike scandal confirms past abuses: Clean it up or abolish it”).

I can assure Eagle readers that the conduct alleged by the office does not reflect the dedication of our hardworking staff members who keep our road open and safe.

In the past two years, the turnpike commission instituted a more rigorous, transparent process for awarding professional-services contracts to ensure that only the most-qualified firms are considered. We created an office of compliance and provided sufficient resources to ensure that employee actions remain above reproach.

We formed a diversity and inclusion department to attract a more diverse pool of potential business partners to bid on our projects.

During the past week, we began a review of active contracts awarded during the time frame in question. And, we are forming an advisory group to review and critique all current procurement policies and procedures.

On folding the Turnpike into the state Department of Transportation: These organizations are working closer today than at any point in our history. We launched a collaborative effort known as “Mapping the Future” in July 2011 to enhance cooperation and increase efficiency. We are sharing expenses in areas like training and facilities design and are exploring alliances to cut costs in other areas.

I understand the significant challenges that lie ahead for this organization, but I have a team in place that is equipped to confront them head-on.

The commission has made great strides the past two years, but all involved realize that we are just getting started.

Our customers, our employees and our business partners deserve no less.