A federal appeals court affirmed a lower court’s decision that the New York Shipping Association acted prematurely in challenging a port crime watchdog agency’s plan for independent monitors at waterfront businesses.
The Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor proposed the independent private sector inspector generals in August 2010, saying they would allow companies to operate until they could meet the New York-New Jersey agency’s licensing requirements.
IPSIGs would be new for the port industry but have been used for more than two decades to fight or avoid corruption at companies in mob-tainted industries such as New York City construction and garbage collection. The NYSA sought an injunction against the IPSIGs, claiming the program exceeded the Waterfront Commission’s statutory authority.
A U.S. District Court judge said the issue wasn’t “ripe” for a court challenge because the commission hadn’t yet implemented the program. The Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed.
“Without a definite program to review, we lack a guarantee that a decision on the merits will target the program the commission actually implements rather than some abstract program,” the 3rd Circuit said.
The NYSA could still challenge the IPSIG program if it eventually is implemented.
The Waterfront Commission proposed IPSIGs in connection with its review of companies’ “good character and integrity” for issuance of permanent licenses, a task the commission let slide until its leadership and top staff were replaced two years ago.