Despite unanimous votes from their respective state legislatures, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York and Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey have rejected a plan to overhaul the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Says The New York Times‘ Jesse McKinley, “The legislation vetoed on Saturday would have remade the authority’s daily operations, providing a raft of new financial, ethical and administrative rules, including opening all of its meetings to the public and asking its 12 commissioners to acknowledge that they have a ‘fiduciary duty’ to the Port Authority.”
In place of the anticipated reform, the governors announced their own plan in a joint press release, which calls for “comprehensive and sweeping changes,” to include:
-the creation a Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer
-reforming the Port Authority’s public-records and ethics guidelines, fully consistent with each state’s open public records laws
-adopting a new Mission Statement to refocus the authority on its original core mission of developing and overseeing regional transportation infrastructure
-reinstating the Port Authority’s regional leadership role by initiating a comprehensive planning effort in 2015 with a strategic vision focused on expanding and developing new regional transportation capacity
The response to the governors’ move has been critical. Dick Dadey, the executive director of Citizens Union, a NY government watchdog group, called the veto “the Saturday night massacre of reform,” while Bergen County Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-NJ) said, “It’s appalling and disappointing. The Legislatures of New Jersey and New York crossed party lines to pass Port Authority reform. The governors crossed party lines to obstruct it.”