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.