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Lesniak: Parking Should Be Least Of Waterfront ‘Commissioner’ Barry Evenchick’s Worries

Senator Raymond J. Lesniak, D-Union, addresses his colleagues on the Senate floor.

Never-Confirmed Waterfront Appointee Holds No Legal Claim to the Office

TRENTON – Following a story this morning about Waterfront Commissioner Barry Evenchick’s reported improper use of a commission detective to hold a parking space for him in downtown Manhattan, Senator Ray Lesniak says Evenchick should have bigger worries than a New York City parking ticket.

Evenchick was appointed to the Waterfront Commission on August 19, 2009. However, he was never confirmed by the Senate, meaning his term expired at the end of the last legislative session on January 11. Because of that, Lesniak noted, the seat is vacant and Evenchick can make no legitimate claim to the post.

“Barry Evenchick can claim to be a Waterfront commissioner about as much as I can claim to be the King of England,” said Lesniak (D-Union). “How the commission could allow him to continue serving in an illegal capacity defies logic. By having Evenchick’s deception exposed, the commission has proven that it is incapable of monitoring itself, let alone the docks.”

Waterfront commissioners receive an annual salary of $43,500 – meaning that unless the commission realized Evenchick’s seat is vacant back in January and had withheld paychecks it must demand repayment of the more than $36,000 it would have paid him so far this year. In addition, Evenchick may also be illegally claiming medical and other paid benefits, which the commission would need to recoup.

Lesniak said he was made aware of Evenchick’s fraud by an article in this morning’s New York Daily News, which alleged he improperly had a commission detective holding a parking spot for him in lower Manhattan. According to the report, New York’s state inspector general ruled last year that “assigning detectives to hold parking spaces was an abuse of public resources.”

“If asking a detective to hold a parking spot is an abuse of public resources, then masquerading as a Waterfront Commissioner is a blatant abuse of the public trust,” said Lesniak. “The Waterfront Commission may have come a long way since the days of Brando, but obviously there are still areas that need cleaning up.”

Last week, Lesniak questioned Waterfront Commission staff about issues of abuses of power at a meeting of the Economic Growth Committee, which he chairs. He said the Evenchick affair has solidified his resolve to introduce legislation to abolish the commission entirely, and turn its operations over to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.