Gordon/McKeon: NJ Transit Lawsuit Against Whistleblower Deeply Troubling

Senator Bob Gordon, D-Bergen, the Chairman of the Senate Legislative Oversight Committee, asks a question during the Committee’s hearing on halfway houses in New Jersey.

TRENTON – Senate Legislative Oversight Committee Chairman Bob Gordon and Assembly Judiciary Chairman John McKeon issued the following statement on reports that NJ Transit has filed a lawsuit against Todd Barretta, a former compliance officer who detailed numerous problems at the agency in testimony last month before the committee:

“We are deeply troubled by NJ Transit taking legal action against a former employee following his testimony about the serious problems taking place within the organization. This action gives the appearance of an agency more concerned with silencing critics than in dealing with its own internal organizational chaos.

“Moreover, an action like this could have the effect of compromising the integrity of future legislative inquiries by creating a chilling effect for whistleblowers and others who seek to expose problems at the agency, including those that affect the safety of employees and commuters. Furthermore, it is representative of the retaliatory environment that Mr. Barretta testified to during our hearing.

“We are also troubled by the fact that the lawsuit was filed just as the federal government cited the agency with more than a dozen violations, including for safety issues, and an admonishment that virtually all were repeated violations from a past review.”