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New Jersey Transit board member Flora Castillo

Murphy must decide if he wants to keep Flora Castillo on NJ Transit board

On board of embattled agency since 1999, Castillo attends most meetings by phone

By David Wildstein, February 19 2019 9:53 am

Gov. Phil Murphy has until March 20 to decide if he wants to keep Phone It In Flora on the New Jersey Transit board.

Flora Castillo is currently on holdover status and is the only public voting member left on the board of the embattled public transportation agency.

Board member James Finkle resigned last month, leaving three of the four public member seats vacant.  The other two seats have been vacant since 2016.

Castillo, an Atlantic County Republican who has served since 1999, rarely makes appearances at New Jersey Transit board meetings.

In 2017, Castillo attended just three board meetings and participated by telephone for the other eight.  Last year, she attended six meetings and phoned in for the other seven.

Under a new law that takes effect next month, the New Jersey Transit board will increase from eight to thirteen members.  The larger board will include legislative and stakeholder appointments as well.

Assemblyman Vincent Mazzeo (D-Northfield) says he’s pleased the new board will require more representation from South Jersey.

“A lot of times, South Jersey is slighted,” Mazzeo said.  “The Atlantic City rail line is still in trouble.”

Mazzeo says he’s bothered by Castillo’s failure to attend meetings.

“If that’s your job to be at these meetings, you should be there,” he said.  “You’re supposed to represent the people he said.  “When you phone in, you don’t get a feeling for the meeting.”

Mazzeo stopped short of saying that Castillo should not be reappointed.

“The overall issue here is how can we get more of a voice in South Jersey,” Mazzeo said.

Under a new law passed last year, Murphy and others have until March 20 to appoint the new board members.

So far, Murphy has made one nomination: former Neptune mayor Michael Beson.  Beson’s nomination has not moved through the State Senate.

Castillo was named to the board by Gov. Christine Todd Whitman and occupies a seat specifically set aside for a public member who regularly uses public transportation.

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