TRENTON – Just before unanimously releasing a second Port Authority nominee at its confirmation hearing today, the Senate Judiciary Committee made a slight clarification.
“To be clear, both of these nominees are to be board members,” said committee chairman Nick Scutari (D-22) as committee members debated the legal technicalities of the nominations.
Because the Port Authority’s chairman is elected from within, the committee’s confirmation of John Degnan and George Laufenberg only clear the nominees to join the agency as board members. According to state law, the legislature does not have the power to appoint a Port Authority chairman directly.
But by way of tradition, New Jersey elects the agency’s chairman and New York elects its executive director, Scutari said.
Degnan and Laufenberg were nominated by Gov. Chris Christie back in November as chairman and board commissioner, respectively.