The Port Authority’s hunt for leadership won’t end with Assemblyman John McKeon (D-West Orange).
Sources say that members of Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration tested the waters with McKeon about a high-level position at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, possibly commissioner or deputy executive director, but the longtime legislator said that he’d prefer to stay in his current role.
“I wouldn’t say no interest – that sounds disrespectful – but I’m very pleased with my position in the legislature,” McKeon said. “After eight years being bottled up with a Republican governor, there’s so much I want to see, and so far, so good, move through the process that I’d like to stay right where I am.”
McKeon said that he was in talks with the Murphy administration on “lots of stuff,” but he said explicitly that he had not been offered a job with the agency.
His interactions with the Port Authority, he said, had largely been confined to matters relating to a series of hearings that McKeon chaired last summer. Since those hearings, McKeon has introduced a bill that would enact a series of reforms to increase oversight of the nation’s largest statewide public transit system.
“My discussions with them have been on the topic of New Jersey’s best interest. We need to move quickly and get a strong handle on to represent our interest,” McKeon said. “Relative to who’s going to be in that role, that’s not my prerogative, not my responsibility. That’s theirs”
New Jersey has one vacancy on the Port Authority’s Board of Commissioners — Caren Turner resigned after a traffic stop incident – and another seat coming up in July when Republican Richard Bagger’s term expires.