Gov. Chris Christie announced yesterday that his chief of staff, Regina Egea, will soon step down from her high-ranking position and be replaced by another inner-circle official.
Egea, who joined the administration in 2010, the year Christie took office, has served as the governor’s chief of staff for the past 15 months. She was also one of the top Christie aides called to testify before a special legislative committee that investigated both the Port Authority and the Christie administration in the wake of Bridgegate, the George Washington Bridge lane-closure scandal.
Christie said in a statement issued by his office yesterday that Egea plans to leave the administration “in the coming weeks” so she can “pursue opportunities outside of government.” She will be replaced by Amy Cradic, who currently serves as the governor’s deputy chief of staff for policy and as the liaison to the governor’s cabinet, Christie said.
“Regina has provided tremendous leadership in helping manage and direct a lean and effective government and in implementing my reform priorities on behalf of the taxpayers of this state,” he said in the statement.
“I thank her for devoting herself to public service to our state for more than six years, and wish her well in her future endeavors,” he said.
Egea, a former elected official in Harding Township, started her career in state government at the Department of Treasury, serving in 2010 and 2011 as chief of staff to then-Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff. She joined Christie’s staff in late 2011.
Eegea was serving as director of the Authorities Unit, which oversees the Port Authority and other outside agencies, in 2013 when several access lanes to the George Washington Bridge were closed in an alleged plot carried out by three other Christie allies to punish the mayor of Fort Lee for not endorsing the governor’s 2013 reelection campaign.
[related]Egea was called in to testify before the special legislative committee that subsequently investigated the Bridgegate scandal, appearing before the panel in July 2014. Members of the committee were particularly interested in text messages she shared with Christie when employees of the Port Authority appeared before another committee conducting an initial probe of the lane closure in late 2013.
Egea told lawmakers she had deleted the texts that were exchanged with the governor in 2013.
Christie has steadfastly claimed he had no involvement or prior knowledge of the scheme allegedly carried out by his former deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly and Bill Baroni, a former top official at the Port Authority who was appointed by Christie.
Now facing federal corruption indictments, Baroni and Kelly have pleaded not guilty and could go to trial later this year. A third former Port Authority official, Christie appointee David Wildstein, has already pleaded guilty and is cooperating with federal authorities.
Egea, who previously worked for AT&T in Bedminster, also issued a statement yesterday that was released by the governor’s office.
“I truly appreciate each of the opportunities the Governor has afforded me to serve the people of our state and alongside the dedicated public servants in Treasury, the Authorities Unit and on his direct staff,” the statement from Egea said.
Cradic, the aide Christie has named to replace Egea, is a 20-year veteran of state government who’s served as the deputy chief of staff of policy since 2013. Her duties included managing a 15-person staff and helping guide international trade missions to Canada, Mexico, and the United Kingdom. She also served as a senior policy adviser to the governor in 2012 and 2013.
Cradic has also worked for the state Department of Environmental Protection and the Commission on Higher Education during her two decades in state government.