New Jersey’s Top Law Enforcement Official Stepping Down [AUDIO]
New Jersey's top law enforcement official is resigning and moving on to look into what Governor Chris Christie calls the "gross mismanagement" at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Christie also has another job in mind for outgoing State Attorney General.
"Attorney General Paula Dow will be resigning and taking a position as the first deputy counsel at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey," announced Christie this morning. "It's clear the Authority needs greater on the ground oversight to make sure that toll payers interests are being protected."
"Paula Dow has been one of my most trusted and effective cabinet members which is why she is needed to help keep the Port Authority accountable," says Christie. "It is clear that the Port Authority has struggled to meet its fiscal and transparency demands which is why Paula will bring much needed on the ground, day to day oversight to ensure past mistakes are not repeated. Paula will accomplish this through a reassessment and reorganization of the Authority that will go hand in hand with the audit process so that there is a structure in place that will best serve the people of the region."
Christie has also nominated Dow as a Superior Court judge in Essex County and expects the State Senate to quickly confirm her. He explains, "To not do so would be the height of hypocrisy given that they've voted for her twice for jobs that are very important; Essex County Prosecutor and Attorney General of New Jersey."
The Governor's chief counsel, Jeff Chiesa has been nominated to take over Dow's job as A.G.. Christie says, "I am honored that Jeff has agreed to bring his extensive legal and law enforcement experience and no-nonsense approach to lead our state's law enforcement efforts. Jeff has long been a close, trusted advisor and friend who has always put his duties and responsibilities first with considerable talent and integrity. I have no doubt that he will build on Paula Dow's record of success in leading the Department of Law and Public Safety."
Christie says he remains focused on an audit of the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey after a recent review of the agency found that over 100 top executives were making millions of dollars in extra payouts and bonuses.
Speaking at an education press conference in Secaucus last week, Christie said compensation for unused vacation, longevity bonuses and other perks under the leadership of former executive director Chris Ward are a disaster.
"This is another example of the secret deals he was making to reward his cronies," said Christie. "I'm disgusted by the overspending and that's why he and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo are pressing ahead with a full audit of the authority's finances."
A review by the Record of Bergen County found that some executives made more than $2 million in extra payouts over the last two fiscal years. Forty-four of the 100 made more than $10,000 extra each year.
Christie said, "Especially in light of the fact that we had to, in order to keep these projects going, allow for a toll increase, that makes me even angrier and it should make the public angry and Governor Cuomo and I are going to fix it."