TRENTON – The Senate Judiciary Committee didn’t start their 10 a.m. meeting until 11 because the Democrats needed a late caucus before they took their seats.
As soon as they did, Chairman Nicholas Scutari (D-Linden) announced that the board may not be able to hear all of the nominees on the agenda. Among the list of nominations: David Samson, member of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; George Kolber, member of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority; and Peter Warshaw Jr., Monmouth County Prosecutor.
Samson was selected by Christie to serve as chairman – although the board technically decides that. Today, he was lauded by the committee for his professional career as former attorney general.
State Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Elizabeth) said Samson had a “remarkable career in public service,” while his colleague Brian Stack (D-Union City) said he hoped Samson landed the chairmanship.
Given the authority’s bi-state composition, Samson said, “There’s going to be competition for dollars.” He gently said a 2007 capital plan done by the Port Authority is outdated, although it was initially thought to extend to 2016.
Samson used the ARC tunnel as an example of how costs are rising beyond previous estimation, which allowed Scutari to ask whether Samson was supportive of the project cancellation.
“No one asked my opinion,” Samson said, then pressed by Scutari on his opinion: “Yes.”
Samson said the authority has been operating with a zero-growth budget the past three years. Now, the authority finds itself with its smallest cache of resources in the last 40 years, he said, and a list of New Jersey projects that need money – save the ARC tunnel – is expanding.
“Such rare bipartisan chorus,” state Sen. Joe Kyrillos (R-Middletown) said of the proceedings. “Don’t jinx it,” Scutari joked.
“I’m not surprised given that it’s Gen. Samson,” Kyrillos said. “This is one of New Jersey’s leading citizens.” Samson won unanimous approval by the committee and, if approved by the full state Senate, will replace prominent Democratic attorney Angelo Genova on the board. The committee also approved Warsaw, although they have yet to hear from Kolber.