Gov. Chris Christie announced at a press conference today his nomination of former Attorney General John Degnan as Chairman of the Port Authority. Sen. Loretta Weinberg told NJTV News Managing Editor Mike Schneider that she will have a lot of questions for Degnan when he goes before the Senate for confirmation.
As for Degnan’s nomination, Weinberg said that it appears that Christie came up with what seems to be a good appointment. Though she said that the leadership at the Port Authority hasn’t been ideal. She said it has been more than seven months since the issues around the lane closures were first discovered when Pat Foye’s email was released, which talked about laws being broken. According to Weinberg, current Port Authority commissioners include former legislators, former chiefs of staff, Christie himself, a former county executive and they have sat by for seven months and nothing has happened.
Weinberg said as a member of the Judiciary Committee and state Senate, she will have many questions for Degnan when he goes before the Senate for confirmation hearings. She said that one person is not going to cure the obvious ills at the Port Authority. She said the prior chair was a former attorney general, as Degnan is, and the former chair had some ethics problems in spite of knowing New Jersey law. Even though Degnan is a registered Democrat, Weinberg said she’s not sure he will be able to change a deeply embedded culture brought about by Christie.
Foye was subpoenaed in the George Washington Bridge lane closure investigation, but his appearance was postponed and it is speculated that it is being done as a favor to New York Democrats who would be embarrassed by what he might say. Weinberg said that it is going to take a joint resolution on behalf of the legislators of both states to pass laws, as well as both governor’s signatures. She said that she does not have a lot of confidence that one person is going to be able to accomplish this or in the commissioners that have been sitting there for seven months and have done nothing.
“I think we all have hard work cut out for us. I’m glad to be starting out with a new chair of the Port Authority. And I will have a lot of questions for him, even though I know John Degnan and I think he’s got an excellent reputation for integrity and honesty,” said Weinberg.