Colleen Wilson | July 12, 2020 | NorthJersey.com |
The crusade to fix NJ Transit —which has suffered from equipment, performance, financial and personnel failures over the past decade — is now focused on its leadership structure, with a radical proposal to retool how the agency has been run since its inception more than 40 years ago.
The plan, spelled out in a bill that state Sen. Loretta Weinberg, D-Bergen, introduced last month, proposes a wide-ranging overhaul of how the agency board functions, and builds upon the work of 2018 legislation passed to spark changes at NJ Transit, once considered one of the top mass transit systems in the nation.
The proposed changes in Weinberg’s bill include:
- Remove the state Transportation Commissioner as chairperson and instead have members of the NJ Transit board elect a chairperson and vice chairperson who is not ex-officio.
- Require the board to hire the executive director, auditor general and customer advocate and sign off on executive management hires like chief financial officer and the general manager of rail operations.
- Require certain documents to be made available for board members in a database or upon request;
- Strategic and capital plans are to be discussed with board committees before disseminated to other agencies or municipalities.
- Create new bylaws for the agency, which will be updated every five years.
“We do not take these steps lightly,” Weinberg told the board at its June 18 meeting. “But we recognize that a strong board is vital to NJ Transit achieving its full potential.”
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