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Two powerful Bergen County Democratic Senators wants Gov. Phil Murphy to keep Kevin O’Toole as chairman of the Port Authority of New York and Jersey.
“I expressed confidence in Kevin O’Toole’s leadership several times over the last few months, said Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, who has led the effort to force reforms a the bi-state agency over the last six years. “He has communicated with us regularly on issues of importance to New Jersey citizens and the Port Authority. He has kept his promise to me to keep planning for the new bus terminal in the forefront.”
Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo also wants O’Toole, a former Republican Senator who represented part of Bergen County, to remain as chairman.
“I’ve had a strong working relationship with Kevin in the Senate,” Sarlo told the New Jersey Globe. “It’s in our interests for Kevin to remain as chairman regardless of who the governor is.”
Another Bergen senator, Joseph Lagana (D-Paramus), told the Globe on Tuesday that he strongly supports O’Toole continuing as Port Authority Chairman. State Sen. Brian Stack (D-Union City) said the would use senatorial courtesy to block any Port Authority nominations out of Hudson County without a commitment to keep O’Toole.
There has been discussion of a package of candidates to fill three open seats on the Port Authority Board of Commissioners, including Murphy’s nomination of Amy Rosen, along with seats for Bergen and Hudson counties.
So far, there are no Port Authority commissioners appointed by Murphy. He nominated Rosen, a Montclair Democrat who served on the New Jersey Transit board, fourteen months ago but the Senate has not yet moved to confirm her.
“I hope with the addition of strong New Jersey commissioners and the leadership of Kevin O’Toole, we can have confidence in the work of the PA,” Weinberg told the Globe.