Meet Christie's Clean-Up Artist Headed to Port Authority

With the sudden resignation of Port Authority Executive Director Bill Baroni in the wake of the controversy of traffic-causing lane closures at the George Washington Bridge, Republican Gov. Chris Christie is turning to a woman who has long been part of the governor's inner circle.

With the sudden resignation of Port Authority Executive Director Bill Baroni in the wake of the controversy of traffic-causing lane closures at the George Washington Bridge, Republican Gov. Chris Christie is turning to a woman who has long been part of the governor's inner circle.

Deborah Gramiccioni, 41, began working for Christie a decade ago when the governor was US Attorney. She is close enough with the governor that they have attended Bruce Springsteen shows together. An attorney and native of Livingston, Gramiccioni was appointed to a key position at the start of Christie's first term: director of the Authorities Unit, which is charged with overseeing the dozens of quasi-governmental agencies throughout the state.

Reigning in the corruption and spending of this "shadow government," as it is widely known, become a key part of the Christie brand at the beginning of his term. Gramiccioni was the woman who went to the meetings of these agencies -- including the Port Authority -- and made recommendations on when to overrule their actions and fire their leaders.

Gramiccioni is now headed to a bi-state agency long known for patronage, corruption and dysfunction. But she's accustomed to that. "I have very thick skin, I'm prepared for a fight, and I know how to go on offense when necessary," she said in a 2011 Philadelphia Inquirer profile. "I go to sleep at night knowing the next day is going to be another battle. And I look forward to it."

A former captain of the University of Pennsylvania soccer team, Gramiccioni's husband, Chris, is the acting county prosecutor in Monmouth County. Her father, Marvin Goldklang, is a limited partner in the ownership of the Yankees. 

Despite the fact that she's quick with a smile around the Statehouse, former colleagues nicknamed her "tornado" for her hard-charging style.