Bob Menendez, Jr., the son of New Jersey’s senior U.S. senator, is “in the mix” for a Port Authority commissioner seat that is expected to go to someone from Hudson County, sources told HCV.
About two weeks ago, NJ Globe reported that Jeremy Farrell, former Jersey City corporation counsel, was could be heading to the 12-member board of the powerful bi-state agency.
However, Farrell, who was recommended by state Senator Sandra Cunningham (D-31), is no longer in the running since his job at the LeFrak Organization could create recusals due to conflicts of interest.
Three sources, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, said that Senator Menendez’s son has entered the equation in the hopes that he could be a consensus pick that Cunningham, state Senator (32)/North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco and state Senator (D-33)/Union City Mayor Brian Stack could all agree on.
“I think he’s an option that people would like to nominate and see who has the balls to knock it down,” one pro-Menendez source added.
Stack has previously said he would not support any nominee that would put Port Authority Chair Kevin O’Toole’s leadership role in jeopardy.
Menendez, Jr. would be the first Hudson County resident to sit on the board since the 80s, when former County Executive Bob Janieszewski served as commissioner.
There are currently three Port Authority seats up in limbo: Amy Rosen, who was appointed by Gov. Phil Murphy last May, Richard Bagger and David Steiner.
Bagger joined the board on July 9th, 2012 and was appointed by ex-Gov. Chris Christie (R) – who he was a chief of staff for – according to their website. His term has been up since June 30th, 2018.
Meanwhile, Steiner, the chairman of Steiner Equities Group, LLC, was named to the board by Gov. Jim McGreevey (D) on January 22, 2003 and reappointed by Christie in 2011, his Port Authority bios says. His most recent term expired on June 30th, 2014.
While Rosen is currently being pegged to remain on the highly influential volunteer board, Bagger and Steiner are on their way out.
Each commissioner is appointed to a six-year term, though they are able to continue serving until they are reappointed or a successor is named.
Furthermore, each appointment requires full approval of the state Senate, which is unlikely to convene before September, meaning that state Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) is able to weigh in on each candidate.
The Port Authority has six members from New Jersey and six from New York.