Christie names John J. Degnan his choice to replace David Samson as Port Authority chair

It’s hard to imagine that a personnel change at the top will make a fundamental difference at Port Authority if the culture of abuse of its authority and resources, directed from the inner offices of the New Jersey governor, continues. There’s scant evidence it will as long as the Port Authority is structured as it is, with great discretionary powers of both governors, and with one governor playing political games with an Authority budget larger than that of ten states.

Gov. Christie has just announced his choice to replace Port Authority Chair David Samson. It is John Degnan, 69.

“He is a person of unquestioned integrity.”

              – Gov. Christie, discussing Degnan

The Port Authority is a subject of investigations at both the federal and state level, with the Authority enmeshed in both the Bridgegate and Hoboken scandals.

Degnan was vice-chair and COO of The Chubb Corporation, which has its HQ in Warren, NJ.. He retired 4 years ago, but continued in a consulting relationship with Chubb since then.  From 1978-1981, he was state AG under Gov. Brendan Byrne, at 33 one of the youngest in New Jersey history to serve in that capacity. In 1981, he resigned that post to run in the Democratic primary for governor, finishing with 11% of the vote in a crowded field.

The Ledger has more on Degnan’s bio, and relationship with Gov. Christie.  

Comments (2)

  1. Rosi Efthim (Post author)

    From state Dem chair John Currie:

    “Not long ago, one of Governor Christie’s last Port Authority appointees, David Wildstein, was described as the ‘eyes and ears’ of the administration. Then, when scandal broke, the governor became blind to its causes and deaf to concerns about what went wrong. Meanwhile, Christie’s last Chair, David Samson, faced allegations of improper conduct and reportedly helped to ‘retaliate’ against the officials who demanded that access lanes to the George Washington Bridge be reopened. I sincerely wish Mr. Degnan the best, but we still need to know whether Governor Christie will take responsibility for the actions of his administration. Or does the governor honestly believe that all the scandals, abuses of power, and conflicts of interests are now water under the proverbial bridge?”

  2. Rosi Efthim (Post author)

    Dick Codey:

    “Reform at the Port Authority must begin with hiring the right people. Mr. Degnan is a man of high integrity and I applaud the appointment,” said Codey (D-Essex, Morris). “The Port Authority stands at a crossroads and is in desperate need of serious reforms. I believe Attorney General Degnan can help restore the public’s confidence and usher in a new era at the troubled agency.”


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