Sources say that Gov. Phil Murphy has decided to resurrect the deputy executive director post at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, with former state transportation official Joseph Fiordaliso emerging as the leading candidate for the post.
Fiordaliso served as chief of staff to the New Jersey Commissioner of Transportation under governors Richard Codey and Jon Corzine. He now runs NorthStar Strategies, a lobbying and political fundraising firm. He serves on the boards of the Regional Plan Association and the Tri-State Transportation campaign.
The job was eliminated in early 2015, a few weeks after a panel seeking to fix the agency recommended that the post – along with the executive director job – be eliminated and replaced with a single chief executive officer. The agency has been unable to fill that position.
In order to bring the post back, Murphy will need signoff from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The search for a CEO has been dormant for a while, and the decision to hire a full-time deputy executive director signals a return to the tradition of parellel offices within the massive bi-state agency.
Prior to the elimination of the position, the deputy executive director was paid $289,000. The current executive director, Richard Cotton, is paid $275,000.
If he gets the job, Fiordaliso will need to recuse himself from several aspects of the Port Authority operations to obviate any potential conflict that comes from his other post as president of the American Council of Engineering Companies – New Jersey.
He did not immediately respond to a 10:05 AM call seeking comment.
Fiordaliso grew up in Livingston, where his father served as councilman and mayor. Joseph Fiordaliso Sr. now serves in Murphy’s cabinet as president of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. Fiordaliso Sr. served as deputy chief of staff under Gov. Richard Codey, while Peter Cammarano was chief of staff; Cammarano is now Murphy’s chief of staff.
Editor’s Note: David Wildstein worked at the Port Authority from 2010 to 2013. Fiordaliso Sr. won the Livingston Township Council seat in 1988 replacing Wildstein, who did not seek re-election.