Gov. Phil Murphy announced yesterday his choices for five open seats on the 13-member New Jersey Transit Board of Directors: Carlos Medina, Kiabi Carson, and Evan Weiss for three Senate-confirmed spots, and Rashonda Brown and Karen Thomas for two spots the governor can appoint unilaterally.
“Under our administration, NJ Transit has made great strides in improving performance, upgrading critical infrastructure, and hiring needed staff,” Murphy said in a statement. “Carlos, Kiabi, Evan, Rashonda, and Karen are the right choices to join the NJ Transit Board during this transformative time to ensure appropriate oversight and accountability as we continue to make key improvements.”
Medina, the president of the state Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, was nearly a Murphy foe in 2017. In that year’s gubernatorial election, Medina was considered a contender to be Lieutenant Gov. Kim Guadagno’s running mate, but he ended up stepping aside and Woodcliff Lake Mayor Carlos Rendo got the nomination instead.
Carson is the head of human services at the international consultancy company Turner & Townsend; Weiss is the president of the Newark Alliance, an economic revitalization organization; Brown is a longtime NJ Transit conductor and former United Transportation Union official; and Thomas is a procurement processor for NJ Transit.
Not included on the governor’s list of nominees is James Adams, who joined the board in February 2020 after a Murphy-signed law reshaped NJ Transit management and added five new board seats. According to the Daily Record, Adams, whose term officially expired at the end 2020, had been a frequent dissenter on otherwise-unanimous board votes.
Former Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck), who was heavily involved in both the initial NJ Transit reform bill and Murphy’s first wave of appointments, told the Daily Record that it was disappointing to see Adams spurned.
“I am happy that the board will be functioning with a full membership,” Weinberg said. “I am profoundly sad that the governor has chosen to replace [Adams], who has shown such ability to represent the customers of NJ Transit and appropriately question the bureaucracy when necessary.”