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Gov. Phil Murphy, left, with Kevin O’Toole, the chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

O’Toole re-elected Port Authority Chairman

Former GOP senator will hold top post through remainder of Gov. Murphy’s term

By David Wildstein, February 11 2021 1:20 pm

Kevin J. O’Toole was re-elected to another term as chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

That means O’Toole, a former Republican state senator, will remain at the helm of the powerful bi-state transportation agency through the entire four years of Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy’s term.  He became chairman in August 2017.

Murphy has not yet filled three open New Jersey seats on the Port Authority Board of Commissioners.

Still serving on as a commissioner on holdover status are Richard Bagger, a former GOP legislator who served as Gov. Chris Christie’s first chief of staff and then as director of Donald Trump’s transition team, and David Steiner.

Originally nominated by Gov. James McGreevey, Steiner had been one of the most influential commissioners but is now 91 and has not attended board meetings over the past few years.

Murphy’s lone nominee for commissioner, Amy Rosen, has languished for nearly three years without a confirmation hearing by the New Jersey State Senate.

Her nomination faces some hurdles.  Rosen lists her employer on several recent campaign contributions as PPSG, a financial management firm run by her husband, Tim Carden.  The firm has a lucrative contract to serve as a financial advisor to the Port Authority that had been cancelled by Christie and later renewed.

Rosen has not received sign off from all of the Democratic senators in her home county of Essex.

O’Toole has assembled a block of key Democrats led by Senate President Steve Sweeney that will not approve any new commissioner nominees without a commitment that he will remain as chairman until he’s ready to leave.

Editor’s note: O’Toole is an unpaid columnist for the New Jersey Globe.  

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