A New Jersey state assemblyman stripped of his crane operator license for not showing up for work wants the bi-state panel that regulates the Port of Bayonne to reconsider their decision.
The Waterfront Commission of New York and New Jersey voted on December 21 to pull the license of freshman Democratic lawmaker William Sampson IV (D-Bayonne) for chronic absenteeism since he took his seat in the legislature in January.
“I am disappointed that the Waterfront Commission took this action,” he said.
Sampson said he sought approval from his employers, Global Container Terminals and the International Longshoremen’s Association, before seeking the 31st district Assembly seat.
“In both cases, Global and the ILA understood this legislative opportunity as a way to ‘give back’ to the local community through service and to work to provide better training, and to increase the potential of investment in challenged neighborhoods,” Sampson said in a statement released by his office on Thursday. “I consistently enjoyed the support of both Global Container Terminals and the ILA. At no point did either Global or the ILA request that I reduce my obligations to the state Legislature or to the community.”
The Waterfront commission said Sampson “failed to present sufficient evidence that attendance at particular events was mandatory to serve as a New Jersey State Assemblyman.”
“He acknowledged a possibility that, on certain dates, he could have attended the events and still worked later on those days as a longshoreman,” the commission order stated. “He also misstated his role as a speaker at one event.”
Now Sampson wants the Waterfront Commission to take another look at his case. He said they have agreed to do so, but the New Jersey Globe has been unable to confirm that.
“I have respect for the rule of law, for the responsibilities of the Waterfront Commission, and for my employers. I take my responsibilities seriously,” he said. “I look forward to continue working for Global Containers Terminals, which candidly sets a standard of excellence in the industry, as well as the International Longshoremen’s Association, whose leadership in American labor stands as a benchmark of quality.”
The new statement takes a softer tone than his comments on Tuesday, when he accused the Waterfront Commission of retaliating against Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration’s bid to shut the panel down. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the case early next year.
The New Jersey Globe first reported the termination of Sampson’s license.
Sampson, 33, was elected in 2021 after Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis pulled his support from the incumbent, Assembly Majority Whip Nicholas Chiaravalloti (D-Bayonne). He is up for re-election next year.