A year after joining NJ Transit, a former spokesperson for Gov. Chris Christie will now serve as the agency's interim chief of staff.

Michael Drewniak, who last April became the first chief of policy and strategic planning for NJ Transit, has been appointed to head the agency as a replacement for Jacquie Halldow, who left the position to serve as deputy chief of staff for Christie's Office of Communications, NJ Advance Media has reported.

The news was announced in memo fromInterim Executive Director Dennis Martin to NJ Transit employees on Monday, the article states. Drewniak, who was hired at a salary of $147,000 when he joined NJ Transit, will maintain the same pay, transit officials told NJ Advance Media.

Drewniak accepted the new position in order to help fill vacancies within the top tier of the agency. On Friday, Deputy Executive Director Neil Yellin retired from his position, according to the article.

NJ Transit is working to find a permanent chief of staff after former Amtrak executive William Crosbie changed his mind about taking the job last month, over concerns about relocating his family from Virginia.

Christie said he was "disappointed" that Crosbie bowed out.

"He told me face-to-face he was gonna take the job, so I'm disappointed that he's had a change of heart, but that's OK. Better we find out now than later. Glad he didn't start then quit," Christie told the press last month. "Better he had his second thought's on somebody else's dime than on the New Jersey taxpayers' dime."

The governor said last month that a number of candidates interviewed for the position, and officials will now go back "and revisit some of them."

Toniann Antonelli is a social content producer for NJ 101.5. She can be reached at toniann.antonelli@townsquaremedia.com, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.

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