Bates Will Speak at Transportation Committee Hearing on Port Authority

in In the Region/Port Authority

Scott Bates, Deputy Secretary of the State and former chair of the Connecticut Port Authority, said he will attend and speak at the December 4 Transportation Committee’s second informational forum regarding the Connecticut Port Authority and concerns about the state audit on the authority’s accounts.

In an email to CT Examiner Saturday, Bates said he responded to an invitation from the Transportation Committee on Friday.

“Last evening I received an invitation to attend and provide testimony at the Transportation Committee informational forum on Dec 4th regarding the Connecticut Port Authority,” Bates wrote. “I have conveyed to the Co-Chairs that I look forward to attending and sharing my perspective.”

Bates, who served as chair of the port authority since its inception in 2014, stepped down at the authority’s June meeting, retaining a seat on the board. At that meeting, the board elected Bonnie Reemsnyder, who was vice chair of the authority as well as chair of the CPA Finance Committee, as chair. Reemsnyder resigned on July 19 at the request of Gov. Ned Lamont, after it was revealed the CPA purchased her daughter’s artwork for its Old Saybrook office. Bates later resigned from the board in August.

Reemsnyder did not return CT Examiner’s phone call Saturday inquiring whether she would attend and speak at the December 4 forum.

In addition, the authority’s executive director, Evan Matthews, was placed on paid administrative leave in July. At the September 4 meeting, the board voted to terminate Matthews as of September 30.

Uncertainty remains about the firing of Gerri Lewis, the port authority’s Office Manager and Ethics Compliance Officer, whom Matthews fired on July 9.

Also unknown is the identity of the whistleblower whose complaint alleging CPA misuse of funds preceded Lewis’ firing, which was deemed “performance-based” and was legally within Matthews’ administrative authority.

Questions also abound about the Auditors of Public Accounts’ report on the CPA’s finances that was released on October 31 showing numerous issues related to statutory compliance, a lack of policies and procedures, spending on and documentation of travel, food and entertainment, legal expenses and personnel procedures.

The Transportation Committee’s first informational forum took place on August 20. Bates, Reemsnyder and Matthews were absent from the meeting.

The December 4 meeting will take place at 10:30 a.m. in room 1E of the Legislative Office building.