The new inspector general of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission says he is less interested in collecting scalps than in improving business practices.
Ray A. Morrow, a former FBI agent and corporate compliance officer, was hired this month to root out theft, fraud, and waste at an agency with a long history of all three.
He replaces Anthony Maniscola, the turnpike's first inspector general, who retired in September and promptly lambasted the Turnpike Commission for continuing political influence, patronage jobs, and pay-to-play contracting. Maniscola suggested the commission should be disbanded and turnpike operations placed under the Department of Transportation.
Morrow said Tuesday he seeks "more of a partnership than an adversarial relationship" with turnpike employees.
"If someone did something wrong, we'll find it, and that person will be dealt with," Morrow said. But he said he wanted turnpike workers and managers to know he's not out to get them.
He said he wants to improve such business practices as bid procedures, contracting, and compliance with government regulations and professional standards.
Morrow arrives as the state Attorney General's Office continues to prosecute criminal cases brought last year against eight people, including former top turnpike officials, for crimes ranging from bribery to bid-rigging.
The grand jury report that led to the charges depicted a culture of money, political favoritism, and influence-peddling at the Turnpike Commission, with contractors selected on the basis of political contributions to state officials.
Morrow said: "You can change the culture. . . . It's not going to be easy, and it's not going to happen right away, but it can be done."
He said he hopes to "once and for all" get rid of the corruption stigma that has long tainted the turnpike.
Morrow, 58, of Washington, Pa., will be paid $125,000 a year.
During his FBI career, he served as an undercover agent, white-collar crime supervisor, and special agent-in-charge of the FBI's Pittsburgh office.
After retiring from the FBI in 2007, Morrow was director of corporate security for MTR Gaming Inc., which operates casinos and racetracks in West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
He then worked for four years as senior regulatory and compliance investigator for electronics and engineering giant Siemens Corp.
Morrow said he will work closely with another former FBI agent, David Gentile, who was hired in late 2012 as the Turnpike Commission's chief compliance officer.