The New Jersey Turnpike Authority is making changes and saving millions of dollars in the process. That's according to a follow-up by the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) to a 2010 audit.

Flickr user MPD01605

According to the report, the agency has implemented or partially implemented 15 of the audit's 17 recommendations.

In it's 2010 audit, OSC found numerous examples of nearly $40 million in wasteful spending, including unjustified employee bonuses, annual sick leave payouts and an employee relations account used to pay unnecessary costs such as sponsoring an employee bowling league.

"The Turnpike Authority has done what its supposed to do and what it's required to do. It has followed up on the recommendations from our initial audit and real improvements have been made that are going to save money at this agency that is funded by our toll dollars," said State Comptroller Matt Boxer. "Improper employee bonuses have been eliminated along with sick leave payouts for management and many of their employees. Changes have been made to the agency's health plan that will save millions of dollars as well."

The Authority also is in the process of negotiating new collective bargaining agreements in which it seeks to eliminate the bonuses and payouts for its remaining union employees. Turnpike officials also ended the practice of allocating public funds for its employee relations program.

"We're pleased the that Turnpike Authority has made significant progress in implementing our recommendations," said Boxer. "While there is more work to be done, Turnpike officials have made real improvements to their operations that are leading to cost savings and more efficient use of public toll dollars."