Sweeney, Weinberg, Kean, Sarlo, Gordon and Kyrillos: NY Inspector General appointment would be illegal and lack all power without NJ concurrence
TRENTON – Senate Democratic and Republican leaders today sharply criticized passage of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s politically motivated plan to create a New York Inspector General with jurisdiction over the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
The Senate leaders warned that the appointment of an Inspector General of New York for Transportation would be illegal and meaningless without identical legislation being approved by New Jersey’s Legislature and signed by the governor, and added that the New Jersey Senate has no intention of considering such a measure.
Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-Gloucester), Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen), Minority Leader Tom Kean (R-Union), Budget Chair Paul Sarlo (D-Bergen), Legislative Oversight Chair Bob Gordon (D-Bergen/Passaic) and Senator Joe Kyrillos (R-Monmouth) all expressed concern over the intent and impact of Governor Cuomo’s latest move.
“This is just the latest attempt by Governor Cuomo to try to impose his will unilaterally on the Port Authority and to retaliate against John Degnan for fighting for a new Port Authority Bus Terminal,” said Senator Sweeney. “Governor Cuomo should be thanking John Degnan for championing the needs of commuters on both sides of the Hudson, not attacking him.”
“Recent court rulings and a legal opinion I requested from the non-partisan Office of Legislative Services make it clear that Governor Cuomo cannot appoint a New York Inspector General without the consent of the New Jersey Legislature and governor, and we will not concur,” said Senator Weinberg. “To the contrary, I am confident that the Senate will vote unanimously at our next session to approve a bipartisan resolution I sponsored with Senator Kyrillos condemning Governor Cuomo’s action.”
“New Jersey has spoken with a bipartisan voice on trans-Hudson transportation issues, and this is no exception,” said Senator Kean. “What Governor Cuomo is trying to do with this law is to attempt to undermine the independent authority of the Port Authority Board and intimidate commissioners and senior staff into bowing to his priorities, rather than fulfilling their responsibility to consider the best interests of all.”
“The Port Authority was established with the principal mission of expediting the movement of people and goods across and under the Hudson River, linking the economies of New York and New Jersey,” said Senator Sarlo. “So why is Governor Cuomo trying to retaliate against John Degnan, the Port Authority staff and his own New York commissioners for doing their job?”
“We need a strong, independent-minded Port Authority Board that thinks regionally about transportation policies and priorities, not one that is looking over its shoulder to see if Governor Cuomo’s Inspector General Javert is preparing to launch a retaliatory investigation or bring trumped-up charges against commissioners and senior staff,” said Senator Gordon.
“Governor Cuomo’s intentions were clear from the start, which is the reason that Senator Weinberg and I teamed up on a bipartisan resolution opposing this clearly illegal attempt to bypass the requirement of the 1921 Port Authority Compact that both states pass identical legislation,” said Senator Kyrillos. “It’s time for Governor Cuomo to end the games and work with us to advance the transportation needs of the region.”