Gov. Phil Murphy announced his election yesterday for five open seats on the New Jersey Transit board of 13 members: Carlos Medina, Kiabi Carson and Evan Weiss for three seats approved by the Senate, and Rashonda Brown and Karen Thomas for two seats that the governor can appoint unilaterally.

“Under our administration, NJ Transit has made great strides in improving productivity, upgrading critical infrastructure and hiring the necessary staff,” Murphy said in a statement. “Carlos, Kiabi, Evan, Rashonda and Karen are the right choice to join the New Jersey Transit Council at this transformational time to ensure proper oversight and accountability as we continue to make key improvements.”

Medina, president of the state’s Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, was almost an enemy of Murphy in 2017. In that year’s gubernatorial election, Medina was considered a candidate for the post of lieutenant-governor Kim Guadanho’s partner, but he eventually stepped aside and Woodcliff Lake Mayor Carlos Rand instead received a nomination.

Carson is the head of the human services department at the international consulting company Turner & Townsend; Weiss is president of the Newark Alliance, an economic recovery organization; Brown is a longtime conductor of NJ Transit and a former United Transport Union official; and Thomas is a procurement handler for NJ Transit.

The list of gubernatorial candidates does not include James Adams, who joined the council in February 2020. A law signed by Murphy changed the management structure of NJ Transit and added five new seats on the board. According to the Daily RecordAdams, whose term officially expired in late 2020, was often disagreed with the council’s unanimous vote.

Former Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Tinek), who was heavily involved in both the original New Jersey transportation reform bill and Murphy’s first wave of appointments, told the Daily Record that it was disappointing to see Adams rejected.

“I am happy that the board will be fully operational,” Weinberg said. “I am very sad that the governor has decided to replace [Adams]who has demonstrated this ability to represent NJ Transit customers and duly challenge bureaucracy if necessary ”.

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