The Port Authority is introducing a new code of ethics for its vendors, contractors and consultants, part of a comprehensive integrity program adopted by the agency’s Board of Commissioners in September.
The program is designed to ensure the highest level of integrity and accountability by Port Authority employees and those hired for any work done on behalf of the Port Authority. The new vendor code strengthens the framework overall and codifies in one place various provisions related to vendor integrity that have been previously included in the Port Authority’s policies and contract provisions. The code mandates that vendors – including any entity supplying goods and services to the Port Authority – consultants and contractors will be required to certify compliance with the code.
The code requires that vendors, contractors and consultants adhere to strict guidelines in the performance of Port Authority work, including: maintenance of accurate books and records; honest reporting; compliance with the Port Authority’s Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) and Disadvantaged Business (DBE) programs; a zero-tolerance policy toward offering gifts to Port Authority employees, and adherence to Fair Employment standards. The code also requires vendors to confirm that the employment of former Port Authority employees would not violate that employee’s post-employment ethical obligations.
More than 34,000 vendors, contractors and consultants are registered to do business with the Port Authority.
In addition, the code limits the use and dissemination of confidential information and Port Authority intellectual property, and imposes clear rules for responsible usage of and access to Port Authority information technology. Vendors, consultants and contractors will also be required to report misconduct or other violations of the code to the Port Authority’s Office of Inspector General.
“This code of ethics is essential to bringing greater accountability, transparency and integrity to this agency,” said Chairman Kevin O’Toole. “The board recognized the importance of this program when we unveiled it in September, and we are fully committed to making it a success.”
“When vendors, contractors and consultants work with the Port Authority, they are working in service of the public,” said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton. “And just as we strive for the highest standards of ethical and legal compliance from ourselves, we require the same from the vendors we retain to help us meet the needs of the traveling public.”
“This new code requires that our vendors rigorously comply with all legal obligations and behave ethically when they are working on our behalf,” said Lillian Valenti, Chief Procurement and Contracts Officer. “A robust ethics code is an essential component of meeting the mandate of public service with integrity and accountability.”
Port Authority Announces Policy to Improve Contractor Performance and Accountability
Formalizes rigorous evaluations of contractor and construction manager performance on Port Authority projects, including on-time and on-budget delivery, as basis for future contract awards
As part of its continuing effort to assure completion of Port Authority construction projects on time and within budget, the Port Authority will make an important change in how it selects contractors for future construction projects and in how it selects firms to manage and oversee construction on behalf of the Port Authority.
Going forward, bidding firms’ past performance record on previous Port Authority projects will become a decisive factor in contract award determinations. Poor performance on past projects will severely handicap firms’ ability to get future work. Good performance on past projects will continue to be a positive consideration in the selection process.
Performance evaluations will be prepared for all contractors, subcontractors and construction management firms on all Port Authority construction projects, and less-than-satisfactory ratings received at any time during the previous three years will be formally considered in contract award determinations. Performance evaluations will be performed during and at the completion of construction projects, and will be conducted by the Port Authority professionals overseeing the work.
“Making sure contractors and construction managers are held accountable for their past performance is an important tool in achieving our goal of on-time and on-budget performance in all of our projects,” said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton. “This also requires that the Port Authority step up its own game in managing projects to assure timely delivery against a project’s schedule and assure that project costs are tightly managed and hit budget targets.”