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Former Jersey City Corporation Counsel Jeremy Farrell

Farrell headed to Port Authority as part of package, sources say

Ordway, Rosen to get other seats, O’Toole to keep chairmanship ‘for now’

By David Wildstein, July 26 2019 4:55 pm

This story was updated at 5:30 PM.

Gov. Phil Murphy is set to nominate former Jersey City Corporation Counsel Jeremy Farrell to serve as a Commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, setting in motion a package of three appointments to fill open seats on the powerful bi-state transportation agencies.

Trenton sources with direct knowledge of the appointments say that Farrell was the choice of State Sen. Sandra Cunningham (D-Jersey City), a closely ally of Senate President Steve Sweeney.

Sources say that Kevin O’Toole, a former Republican State Senator who was picked as Port Authority chairman by Gov. Chris Christie, is expected to remain in that post “for now.”

Without Sweeney’s consent, no Port Authority nominations can win Senate approval.

Other sources say that Sweeney has not agreed to the package.

“There is no deal,” the other source said, noting that a commitment for O’Toole to remain as chairman is an integral part of any package for nomination.

Murphy is also expected to nominate Christine Ordway, a financial auditor from Franklin Lakes who ran for the State Assembly in 2017.  Ordway was the choice of Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, the sources said.

Amy Rosen, who was named to the Port Authority by Murphy fourteen months ago following the resignation of Caren Turner, is also expected to see her nomination finally reach the Senate if the package of nominees holds.

Farrell and Ordway will replace Richard Bagger and David Steiner, whose terms have expired and are both on holdover status.

Bagger, a former legislator, served as Christie’s chief of staff and briefly ran Donald Trump’s transition office.  Steiner, a respected and influential real estate developer and former national AIPAC president, has been a commissioner since 2003.

Farrell, who now works for the LeFrak Organization, would become the first commissioner from Hudson County since Bob Janiszewski, and the first black commissioner from New Jersey in many years.

For a while, Cunningham was pushing former Assemblyman Charles Mainor for the post. Farrell offers the intellectual heft needed for the complicated and often byzantine agency.

The Senate is not expected to return to session until September.

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