Award–winning journalist Andrea Bernstein is the Metro Editor for WNYC News. She has previously served as Political Director, Director of Transportation Nation, and Senior Reporter.
A Princeton professor emeritus and author of a book on the Port Authority says Governor Chris Christie's hiring recommendations at the Port Authority far outpace his predecessor's patronage hires. Jameson Doig, author of "Empire on the Hudson," is speaking up after the Bergen Record published the names of some 50 employees, from executives to a toll collector, who were hired on Christie's reommendation, most of whom have ties to the Republican party officials or their campaigns.
"Whereas Christie might have 50 people, the other Governors might have four or five," Doig said in a phone interview from New Hampshire, where he also teaches at Dartmouth college.
Christie is defending the hirings. "I make no apologies about trying to put some people in place who are going to understand what the view of this administration is and execute …in a way that’s consistent with my policies,” he said at a news conference Monday.
Christie's spokesman didn't respond to Doig's criticisms.
Shawn Boburg, one of the Bergen Record reporters who broke the story, said the hirings "cut against the grain" for Christie, who made his bones as a prosecutor crusading against corruption. (You can listen to an interview with Boburg here. )
The report says among those hired were an actor, a gourmet food broker, and the author of a self-help book by a Port Authority executive. The salaries total $4 million.
Christie says, under his watch, overall headcount has dropped at the bi-state transportation authority.
The Port Authority is not subject to the same disclosure laws as New Jersey state agencies, and has not released the resumes of the 50 employees.