Congratulations to POLITICO for confirming the story that the New Jersey Globe had more than four hours earlier: that Gov. Phil Murphy has decided to resurrect the old deputy executive director position. The leading candidate, as reported this morning, is Joseph Fiordaliso, a lobbyist who worked at the state Department of Transportation under Governors Richard Codey and Jon Corzine.
Here’s a few things POLITICO missed during the four hours they had to follow-up:
1. Fiordaliso was not Murphy’s first choice: sources say that Tim Castano, who served as senior advisor to former Port Authority chairman Tony Coscia and is now the president of Murphy’s New Star New Jersey non-profit. Castano reportedly declined to take the job.
2. After Castano, the governor’s staff considered Keith Barrack, a former assistant counsel to Codey and Corzine and ex-Florio Perrucci partner who is now chief of staff to the President of Montclair State University. Sources say that Barrack was interested and made it as far as an interview with Murphy. He was not offered the position.
3. Murphy has not addressed the issue of bring back the deputy executive director post with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Sources say that the New York side of the Port Authority pushed back on the plan as recently as today. While deputy executive director has not been formally eliminated, the position is considered an officer of the agency and an appointment must be made by the Board of Commissioners and the minutes must be approved by the governors of both states. Unless Cuomo is on board, Murphy can’t pick anyone.
4. There is no word about how far Murphy is willing to go to get his candidate approved. In the 1990’s, the agency was brought to a standstill when two Republican governors, Christine Todd Whitman and George Pataki, were unable to agree on a candidate for executive director. It was after that nearly 18-month impasse that the deputy post was created.
5. Besides wondering if they’re about to get a new boss, some of the most powerful Port Authority employees are playing a game of musical chairs: the executive floor of the agency doesn’t have an office for the deputy director and the infrastructure that comes with it. That means someone on the executive floor will lose their prestigious office, and at the Port Authority that’s a huge deal.