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Gov. Phil Murphy. Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe

South Jersey Port backs down in fight with Murphy

Ex-Sen. Zane, Sweeney’s choice, appears to be out as general counsel

By David Wildstein, September 24 2018 6:44 pm

The South Jersey Port Corporation has backed off their plans to renew a contract with former State Sen. Raymond Zane as their general counsel, avoiding another showdown with Gov. Phil Murphy.

The request for proposal (RFP) for legal services will be reissued.

Murphy has twice vetoed the minutes of the agency’s board meeting, a move that effectively blocks their ability to take any action.  The conflict was first reported by Politico New Jersey.

The decision of the port corporation to cave on an issue of importance to Murphy – namely the appointment of Zane, an ally of Senate President Steve Sweeney – shows that the use of gubernatorial power often prevails in a political conflict.

Zane won eight elections to the New Jersey State Senate as a Democrat beginning in 1973  before switching parties in 2001 and losing to Sweeney, then a Gloucester County Freeholder.  At the time, Democrats stripped Zane of lucrative legal work, but eventually he patched things up with Sweeney.

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