AUGUSTA — The Maine Turnpike Authority will no longer make donations to outside groups, a practice that created a firestorm of criticism after news broke that $157,000 in gift certificates were given away.

The board’s vote was disclosed as Peter Mills, the turnpike’s interim director, appeared before the Legislature Government and Oversight Committee on Friday.

Mills told the panel that the authority is already adopting suggestions made by the Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability. For example, the turnpike is now separating project management and engineering contracts instead of using the same firm for both.

The oversight committee continues to investigate the handout of gift cards to high-end restaurants and hotels. Executive Director Paul Violette stepped down this month after 23 years of service amid growing questions about turnpike finances.