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After a pause, contracting review resumes at the Connecticut Port Authority

Contracting Standards Board Video Meeting CROP.jpg
Screen image from a Contracting Standards Board video meeting
Contracting Standards Board Chair Lawrence Fox

The state Contracting Standards Board is restarting its review of the Connecticut Port Authority.

The review had essentially been on hold since the state attorney general determined that the contracting regulators had limited authority to investigate quasi-public agencies like the Port Authority.

But late in the last General Assembly session, lawmakers gave the Contracting Standards Board expanded authority to review deals reached by the Port Authority.

That is now allowing the review to go forward.

At a meeting today, Contracting Standards Board Chair Lawrence Fox said his agency has a legal responsibility to look at complaints, and to make recommendations to the General Assembly when needed.

"Someone characterized it as a witch hunt. I sure hope not. That is not what we see our role as," Fox said. "But we do see our role as responding to every complaint we receive and looking at what was the process that was used here. What can we learn from it."

The contracting regulators are looking into hundreds of thousands of dollars in Port Authority payments to a company with ties to a recently-departed port authority board member.

State officials have questioned the need for a half-a-million dollar success fee.

The authority is also managing a large project to rebuild the State Pier in New London as a base for the construction of off-shore wind turbines.