Tougher rules against conflicts of interest and political dealing will top the agenda for the beleaguered Delaware River Port Authority at a special board meeting Wednesday.

The board also will vote on retaining the existing senior citizen bridge-toll discount. The toll for seniors was to have increased on Sept. 1.

The politically connected DRPA board last week approved a series of changes designed to transform the bistate agency's pay-to-play culture and increase its openness and accountability.

Left on the table after that meeting were issues to be tackled Wednesday, including:

Requiring vendors to disclose political contributions.

Prohibiting vendors from making political contributions to board members or the governors who appoint them, or to entities led by board members that provide support to political organizations.

Requiring full board approvals for contributions to charitable and civic organizations.

Prohibiting board members and employees from performing political activities or using their offices for political purposes.

Prohibiting "undue influence" by board members or employees on DRPA matters.

The board also will vote on eliminating the position of assistant to the chairman, a $140,000-a-year post held by Mary-Rita D'Alessandro, an ally of DRPA board member and Philadelphia labor leader John "Johnny Doc" Dougherty.

Dougherty has been an outspoken critic of DRPA leadership and has called for the resignations of chief executive John Matheussen and general counsel Richard Brown.

Last week, the board eliminated two positions, including its chief of public safety. The former chief, Pennsauken lawyer Michael Joyce, resigned last month after it was learned that he had borrowed an E-ZPass transponder from another DRPA manager to give his daughter free bridge trips to school in Lower Merion.

The board decided it would not replace Joyce in the $180,081-a-year post. It also voted to eliminate the vacant $140,000-a-year position of assistant to the vice chairman, which Joyce had held earlier.

At Wednesday's meeting, the board will vote on combining the job of corporate secretary with the position of general counsel. Corporate secretary John Lawless was escorted from the DRPA building in April for still-unexplained reasons, but continues to collect his $123,806 salary.

Lawless is a former Pennsylvania state legislator and unsuccessful Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor. He gave Joyce the personal E-ZPass transponder with free bridge trips that led to the security chief's departure.

The board is expected to approve a measure to keep the discounted toll for senior citizens at $1.75 for New Jersey E-ZPass users and to permit seniors who still have discount tickets to continue to use them.

The senior E-ZPass discounted toll was set to rise to $2 on Sept. 1. Only senior citizens with New Jersey-issued E-ZPass transponders get the discount, which rankles many seniors with Pennsylvania-issued E-ZPass devices.

Because the board voted in December to delay for 10 months a $1 increase in car tolls that was to take effect Sept. 1, chairman John Estey and vice chairman Jeffrey Nash said the agency should retain discounts that were set to change or expire on that date.

Estey and Nash also proposed keeping the commuter credit of $6 for holders of New Jersey E-ZPass transponders who make at least 18 bridge crossings a month and the $1 discount for E-ZPass customers who drive low-emission vehicles.

Those discounts were slated to expire next Wednesday.

Contact staff writer Paul Nussbaum at 215-854-4587 or