Governor Chris Christie removed Bill Baroni from his position as deputy executive director of the New York and New Jersey Port Authority on Friday, Save Jerseyans, as a scandal concerning the Fort Lee lanes to the George Washington Bridge threatened to cloud the beginning of the GOP Governor’s second term.
Pressure has built up in recent days as Democrats stepped up their efforts to make hay of the scandal; the DNC just dropped an “explanatory” web ad.
He will be replaced by Deb Gramiccioni, a veteran Christie Administration official, former U.S. Attorney and head of the Governor’s authorities unit who Christie called “one his most trusted friends and advisers over the past ten years” during his Friday morning press conference. She’s best known as Christie’s point man in going after the PVSC earlier in term one.
Christie thanked former Senator Baroni for his service who, the Governor added, offered his resignation. Christie nevertheless said Baroni had fessed up to “mistakes” in his testimony and conversations with the Governor, specifically in approving the lane closures for a “study” which Christie said was executed in the wrong way. The Governor nevertheless told reporters he didn’t consider the authority “out of control” and reiterated that he “absolutely” played no role in the Fort Lee closure decision. He further assured the media that his campaign wasn’t involved in the decision.
Click here to watch the presser live.