Governor Lamont Directs Assessment of Port Authority and Lottery Management as Part of a Larger Governance and Operational Review of the State’s Eleven Quasi-Public Agencies
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that he is taking further action to investigate and address recent developments at two of Connecticut’s quasi-public agencies – the Connecticut Lottery and the Connecticut Port Authority. To lead these efforts, the governor is directing his Chief of Staff, Ryan Drajewicz, and Chief Operating Officer, Paul Mounds, to examine the management and operations of the two agencies and work closely with their leadership to make sure both organizations deliver all the benefits they were created to provide on behalf of Connecticut residents while following the highest standards of ethics and management.
“Both the Port Authority and Lottery provide great benefits to the citizens of Connecticut,” Governor Lamont said. “Their quasi-public governance structure, and that of other quasi-public agencies, is meant to make them nimble and effective at responding to opportunity, but also at rapidly taking corrective action when necessary to maintain the public’s trust and confidence. Sometimes intrusive leadership is required to make sure that happens, and now is one of those times.”
Governor Lamont took initial action last week to address leadership and ethical issues at the Connecticut Port Authority, requesting and receiving the resignation of Board Chair Bonnie Reemsnyder. At the same time, Executive Director Evan Matthews was placed on paid administrative leave. Because of those events, Governor Lamont tasked Drajewicz and Mounds to work with newly installed Port Authority Board Chair David Kooris, who also serves as Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development, on leading negotiations related to the economic development opportunities around offshore wind and future economic benefits offered by the State Pier in New London. Governor Lamont also welcomed the board’s appointment of retired Navy Captain Paul Whitescarver as a consultant whose charge will be to assess and make recommendations about operations and personnel.
Governor Lamont has also become increasingly concerned with the recent reports of leadership strife within the Connecticut Lottery and an unfortunate trend of other management mishaps that threaten to undermine the public trust in our state’s gaming operations, which provide hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.
“Lottery players and taxpayers have to be able to trust the leadership and management of the Connecticut Lottery,” Governor Lamont said. “The players must have confidence that the games they are playing are well managed, and above all the taxpayers have to know that their lottery is being operated in an accountable and professional way. I intend to engage both internal and external resources to ensure that is the case.”
Staff from the governor’s office recently met with Connecticut Lottery leadership and requested an independent review of the Connecticut Lottery’s operational and management practices, which they agreed. Governor Lamont believes such review must include – at a minimum – regulations that govern operation of the Connecticut Lottery and its games, a review of the board’s management practices and recommendations for improvements, and an assessment of whether the Lottery has in place, and follows, procedures for reporting suspicions of unethical or improper conduct.
Governor Lamont is also considering the makeup of the Connecticut Lottery’s board and carefully evaluating who can practice the intrusive leadership needed to safeguard the public trust in a significant organization.