Albany’s support up to this point has mostly hinged on the impending anniversary. Were anything bad to happen, Mr. Ward would be a convenient fall guy. Added to that is the fact that the Cuomo administration has been busy addressing first the budget and now its legislative agenda. As that draws to a close in the next month, there will be more time to focus on other issues, to become better acquainted with Mr. Ward and to definitively decide his future.
This temporary stay has not entirely soothed Mr. Ward’s supporters. People at the World Trade Center have been described as “terrified” and “anxious” at the prospect of the executive director’s replacement.
“Many people played a part in the Conde Nast negotiations and transaction, but Chris Ward led the team and was always ready to roll up his sleeves and help work through any issues that came up,” said Tara Stacom, the Cushman & Wakefield vice-president in charge of leasing at 1 World Trade.
The mood is echoed across the Port’s realm.
“I really don’t think this could have gotten done without him, and I certainly hope we have continuity of leadership through this project, because he really does know what needs to happen,” Mr. Anderson said of the Delta deal. On Monday, two Community Board 1 subcommittees voted unanimously, if only symbolically, on a resolution calling on Governor Cuomo to retain Mr. Ward.
It is unclear whether the governor will be swayed. “The Cuomo administration doesn’t want other people making this decision for them, and they especially don’t want the press triangulating around them,” an official from New Jersey said. He added that when he suggested, for stability’s sake, that Mr. Ward be retained, “it evoked a pretty angry response.”
“He’s sitting in a very expensive chair,” another source said.
Mr. Ward said he wants the job, it is the only job he ever wanted, but at the same time he has had it many times over. “This three years has gone by either in the blink of an eye or what seems like 10 years,” he said. “So much has gotten done and there’s been so much focus on it, it’s gone by incredibly quickly. But at the same time, it seems like all that’s gotten done had to have been packed into 10 years.”
“If people somehow think this is easy, it’s going to be a big surprise,” he added. Now he just has to convince the governor of that.