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Weinberg Downplays Murphy Team’s ‘Overreach’ at Port Authority

Board chairman complained that governor’s team “wanted to be in control or ‘in charge’ of every senior hire at the Port”

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey was drawn into the Bridgegate controversy when Bill Baroni, its deputy executive director was charged as part of the conspiracy. But it appears that political turmoil continued to roil the bi-state agency under the new Murphy administration.

A letter from Port Authority board chairman Kevin O’Toole, obtained by NJ Advance Media, described “a troubling trend of an overreach by senior staff of the Murphy team,” saying it “wanted to be in control or ‘in charge’ of every senior hire at the Port.” O’Toole wrote that Murphy’s chief counsel Matt Platkin offered to trade a favor “if Gov. Murphy would be allowed to hand-select the Port’s Deputy Executive Director — a position that was abandoned several years ago.”

Sen. Loretta Weinberg, who co-chaired the legislative committee that investigated Bridgegate, told NJTV News, “…no, we were not reinstating that position.” Referring to O’Toole’s concern about the Murphy team’s tactics, she said, “I think if there was an overreach, that hopefully everybody now understands that they maybe had not mastered good communication skills between the governor’s office and an independent authority. My general impression is that things had improved there.”

On Wednesday, Murphy was unapologetic. He said,“It is not only my right, it is my responsibility and my obligation to make sure that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey punches at its weight, and in my case, on behalf of all the commuters who pay a lot of money to cross bridges and tunnels, and I will continue to do so.”

Read the full story on NJTV News Online, a content partner of NJ Spotlight.

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