We were disappointed, but not surprised, to read this article. (No word on whether the Assembly version has made a similar change):
TRENTON, N.J. — A bill proposing reforms for management of NJ Transit has removed one of its key proposals, changing the way the agency’s board chair is selected.NorthJersey.com reports state Sen. Loretta Weinberg, majority leader and the bill’s sponsor, has dropped the requirement that the chair be selected by board members, instead of automatically going to the commissioner of the state Department of Transportation.
This is disappointing but not surprising. This was an attempt to limit the political machines’ influence on the NJTransit Board of Directors—which does not have a single transit-dependent member, though it is finally required to include some (loosely defined) regular riders.
I believe that Sen. Weinberg caved too early to the Senate president, who has his own interest in a second term for the governor, so that he can run comfortably next time. Given that Sen. Weinberg is retiring, she could have held out, refused the change, and stood up for riders as she has been doing so well rhetorically. It appears that the only hope is for the Assembly to pass the original bill and then fight out the compromise version.