The Assembly Transportation Committee hearings today into the “Ft. Lee closures” at the Port Authority, chaired by Assemblyman John Wisniewski, gave us a real glimpse into the current environment at the Jersey side of the Port Authority.
Two of the senior administrators testifying were so frightened of David Wildstein and of losing their jobs in spite of their long years of service, they followed his direction without question. As ordered by the “culprit”, they did not tell Ft. Lee officials or even their own Executive Director, though they knew this was against all the rules of the PA.
Executive Director Patrick Foye explained that he found out about the closures through reading press clips which are circulated to PA officials. He immediately reversed the action. However, under questioning by Chairman Wisniewski. it was obvious that Mr. Foye also felt somewhat constrained by the “chain of command” on the Jersey side. He knows (and we know) that this closure order was given by David Wildstein. Mr. Foye does not think that there is, nor was there any “traffic study” to justify the closures. Yet given that knowledge and his claim of an “internal review”, he has never questioned Mr. Wildstein, nor considered terminating him. Mr. Wildstein is still technically an employee of the PA for the rest of this month, collecting a salary. The Executive Director does not know what, if anything, Mr. Wildstein is actually doing in his current job. Mr. Foye said his “internal review” will be completed in 2014.
So there you have it! Bill Baroni’s Deputy, the man described in the media as the Governor’s “eyes and ears” at the PA, is the “culprit” (their words) who gave the order to close the lanes. The “order implementers” were told by the “culprit” not to tell anyone. And that’s exactly what they did because they were fearful of losing their jobs.
Are you now very confident that the busiest bridge in the world which is so important to our economic health and our security is in good hands?
What a “glimpse”!