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Christie Nominates Ex-Attorney General Degnan as Port Authority Chairman

West Orange native was once one of the youngest attorney generals in state history.

Chris Christie/file photo
Chris Christie/file photo

Gov. Chris Christie Tuesday appointed former New Jersey Attorney General John Degnan to serve as the head of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. 

Degnan, a Democrat who, at 33, was one of the youngest attorney generals in New Jersey history, served in that position from 1978 to 1981 under Gov. Brendan Byrne. 

“At a time when there are significant challenges at the Port Authority,” Christie said, according to northjersey.com. “I wanted someone with unquestioned credentials.”

Degnan, who still must be approved by the NJ Senate, would replace former another former attorney general, David Samson.

State Sen. Richard J. Codey, a Democrat representing Morris and Essex counties, backed Degnan’s appointment Tuesday evening. 

“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. “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.”

Samson resigned from the Port earlier this year on the heels of a report from a law firm that said Christie had no connection to the closing of traffic lanes leading to George Washington Bridge

Samson, a 74-year-old Newark-born lawyer, had also served as New Jersey's attorney general. The politically connected lawyer had been accused of treating his Port Authority appointment as an extension of his legal career. 

The report released in March by Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher pinned much of the blame for the ‘Bridgegate’ scandal on the governor’s former chief of staff, Bridget Ann Kelly.

Degnan was born in West Orange in 1944 and graduated from Harvard Law School.

Wendy A. Ritch April 30, 2014 at 09:36 AM
Why is a 70 year old man being appointed to this position? Is there no one below 60 who would be qualified to handle this post? Seriously - who wants to deal with the PA mess when they're ready to retire? Or is that the point, Gov?
Brandy the Dog April 30, 2014 at 11:16 AM
He always wanted to be in the real estate business. A dream come true.
Concerned Citizen April 30, 2014 at 11:52 AM
Such bad writing. It's not "attorney generals." If they are talking about more than one then it's "attorneys general." So not only is that fact that Christie is allowed to appoint anyone anywhere near the Port Authority, the writing of the article covering this travesty is terrible. I guess The new owner of The Patch fired all the proof readers (not proofs reader, by the way).
Rhoda Kriesel April 30, 2014 at 05:24 PM
Doesn't NY get a say in who should be appointed and in what reforms are needed? And what happened to the idea of appointing a neutral party? To me that means someone from Connecticut or Pennsylvania. Got lost in the Christie PR barrage? Does he believe he controls everything????
Ridgewood Mom April 30, 2014 at 05:55 PM
Wow. The corrupt governor gets to nominate another appointee to replace the other corrupt one that he appointed. Disgraceful!

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