THE PORT AUTHORITY OF NY & NJ

Press Release Article


BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS ENDORSES RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE SPECIAL PANEL ON THE FUTURE OF THE PORT AUTHORITY

Date: Feb 19, 2015
Press Release Number: 25-2015

At the first Board of Commissioners meeting of the year, the Port Authority Board formally received and voted unanimously in support of the core structural and strategic recommendations of the bistate Special Panel on the Future of the Port Authority appointed by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in May 2014.

The Special Panel’s December 26, 2014 report, Keeping the Region Moving, recommended both a comprehensive overhaul of the governance of the agency, with a single Chief Executive Officer selected by and accountable to the Board replacing the current Executive Director and Deputy Executive Director, and a recommitment to the agency’s core transportation mission as its role in the redevelopment of the World Trade Center nears completion.

Endorsed by both governors in a joint statement late last year, the report’s recommendations range from a renewed commitment to the modernization of the region’s airports to a call for Port Authority leadership and regional coordination in the effort to expand cross-Hudson transit capacity for the region’s commuters and businesses. The Board noted in its resolution, however, that it would determine whether individual operational suggestions also contained in the report were the best means to pursue the recommended reforms.

The Board also established a Special Panel Implementation Office within the agency to coordinate implementation of the Special Panel’s recommendations. The Special Panel Implementation Office, which will be overseen by the Chairman and Vice Chairman, will submit a work plan and schedule for each element of the reform agenda to the Board for approval at its March meeting. The Board will then receive a progress report on the individual implementation initiatives at each monthly Board meeting.

"The Governors made it clear that nothing less than transformative change would be acceptable, and we believe the recommendations offered by the Special Panel and endorsed by the Board today represent a historic step forward for the Port Authority," said Port Authority Chairman John Degnan. "These reforms will enable the agency to tackle the many challenges facing our regional transportation system in the years ahead with an efficient leadership structure and a clear strategic focus."

"Over the past few years we have made a number of incremental changes at the Port Authority, but only through a major overhaul of the Port Authority’s mission, structure, management, operations, and overall governance can we truly place this critical bistate agency in a position to address the region’s transportation challenges" said Port Authority Vice Chairman Scott Rechler. "With today’s action by the Board, we can begin to re-establish the Port Authority as a global transportation leader."

The specific recommendations of the Special Panel endorsed today by the Board of Commissioners include:

The Port Authority has been notified by the governors that it is their preference for a rotating chair between the states, rotating every two years, starting with a New York appointee. This structure will begin once a new CEO is appointed by the Board.

The Board also acted to dissolve its temporary Special Oversight Committee, which was established in February 2014 to focus on the need for governance and operational reforms at the agency. Based on its recommendations, the Board in early 2014 replaced the "consent calendar" method of voting with individual roll call votes in public session and modified the Commissioner recusal process to inform the public of any recusals prior to Board action. The Board commended the members of the Special Oversight Committee for their contributions to the ongoing process of reform at the agency.

In related action, the Board of Commissioners today adopted a resolution to authorize the Chairman and Vice Chairman to engage an executive search firm, following an appropriate procurement process, to assist the agency in identifying candidates for the new position of Chief Executive Officer of the Port Authority.

CONTACT:
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
212-435-7777

Founded in 1921, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey builds, operates, and maintains many of the most important transportation and trade infrastructure assets in the country. The agency's network of aviation, ground, rail, and seaport facilities is among the busiest in the country, supports more than 550,000 regional jobs, and generates more than $23 billion in annual wages and $80 billion in annual economic activity. The Port Authority also owns and manages the 16-acre World Trade Center site, where the 1,776-foot-tall One World Trade Center is now the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere. The Port Authority receives no tax revenue from either the State of New York or New Jersey or from the City of New York. The agency raises the necessary funds for the improvement, construction or acquisition of its facilities primarily on its own credit. For more information, please visit http://www.panynj.gov.