Gov. Phil Murphy has overhauled the board of New Jersey Transit, dropping 20-year member Flora Castillo as part of a package of even new appointees to run the beleaguered mass transit agency.
Murphy’s nominees include two picks from towns with a large number of cross-Hudson commuters: Richard Maroko of Montclair, the recording secretary and general counsel of the New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council (AFL-CIO) and the executive vice president of UNITE HERE Local 6; and Lynn Spadaro of Westfield, a sales manager with FXall.
David Rasmussen, a New Jersey Transit train conductor from Woodbridge, was also named to the board, along with James Adams, an engineer from West Orange.
Adams served as Newark’s director of Engineering under mayor Sharpe James, as a senior engineer for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, as an engineering director of the New Jersey Schools Development Authority, and as associate vice president of real estate and facilities operation for New Jersey City Univeristy.
Two of the appointees are from South Jersey: Camden County freeholder Susan Shin Angulo, and Rev. Janet Gasbarro, the retired pastor of the Epiphany Lutheran Church in Pleasantville.
Raymond Greaves, the state business agent and chairman of the New Jersey State Council of the Amalgamated Transit Workers, has also been nominated by the governor. Greaves had been a non-voting member of the New Jersey Transit Board.
Murphy nominated former Neptune mayor Michael Beson to the transit board last August, but the State Senate has not acted on his confirmation.
“A strong NJ TRANSIT Board is critical to ensuring a leadership team whose sole focus is on restoring safety, reliability, and accountability to commuters,” said Murphy. “I thank the Legislature, the Labor community, and our colleagues in transportation for their input, and I look forward to working with the new board members.”
Under a new law passed last year, the board will increase from eight to thirteen members that includes legislative and stakeholder appointments.
Castillo became the last remaining public voting member of the board after James Finkle resigned in January. The other two public seats have been vacant since 2016.
An Atlantic County Republican first appointed by Gov. Christine Todd Whitman in 1999, Castillo rarely made appearances at New Jersey Transit board meetings.
In 2017, “Phone It In Flora” 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.
Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti, the state transportation commissioner, serves as chair of New Jersey Transit. State Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio and Brian Wilton, the director of the governor’s authorities unit, also occupy board seats.
This story was updated at 4:40 PM with comment from Murphy.