Gov. Phil Murphy named five new candidates for the NJ Transit board and decided not to nominate one current member who has served for two years.
The governor nominated Carlos A. Medina, Kiabi Carson and Evan Weiss to be approved by the Senate. Murphy also directly appointed Rashonda Brown and Karen Thomas.
“Carlos, Kiabi, Evan, Rashonda and Karen are the right choice to join the NJ Transit board during this period of transformation to ensure proper oversight and accountability as we continue to make key improvements,” Murphy said in a statement. “Their diverse perspectives will be a huge asset in favor of NJ Transit and New Jersey passengers.”
James D. Adams, who has served on the NJ Transit board since February 2020 with the first wave of new members, has not been re-appointed by Murphy, confirmed a man in the governor’s office.
“Adams’ term ended in late 2020, but he continued to serve on the board as a remnant,” said Natalie Hamilton, a spokeswoman for the governor.
The news came more than three years later Gov. Phil Murphy Signs Bill on Transit Reform in New Jerseythe cornerstone of which was the increase in board size for greater accountability and representation of racers and experts.
Elections announced Thursday include a lawyer, a human resources expert whose company specializes in large-scale construction projects, the president of Newark, a nonprofit, and two current NJ Transit employees.
It also comes just three months after the retirement of Senator Loretta Weinberg, who co-authored legislation on transit reform in New Jersey (and the next bill that did not leave the committee) and led lengthy, controversial negotiations with the governor’s office on the first wave of elections to the council, in the promotion of which she played a crucial role.
“I am happy that the council 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 ”.
During his time on the board, Adams voted against more agenda items than any other current member, and asked detailed questions to agency officials at the full meetings and committees in which he served.
Adams stood out the most repeatedly voted “against”. on NJ Transit’s budget proposals.
Although it was merely symbolic – or, as he often said, “on conscience” – it drew attention to the lack of involvement of the board in preparing the agency’s budget and the governor’s budget proposals. Both have perpetuated the long-standing practice of transferring millions of dollars from the capital budget to fill gaps in operating costs.
Here’s a review of the people announced by Murphy on Thursday.
Thomas is a procurement handler at NJ Transit and has worked for the agency for 33 years. As a member of the United Vehicle Trade Union, representing bus operators and other positions, she holds one of the union’s non-voting seats. Thomas is also the chair of the Somerset County Commission on Women and is a member of the Special Advocates of Somerset, Hunterdan and Warren counties, a non-profit organization that helps place children who are abused and neglected in safe homes.
“I look forward to the opportunity to bring new ideas and a fresh perspective to the board by speaking for New Jersey passengers,” Thomas said in a statement.
Carlos A. Medina
Medina is President and CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey and President of Robinson Aerial Surveys Inc. He is a member of the boards of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield in New Jersey and the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, and was previously a member of the board of directors of the New Jersey Office of Economic Development.
“Having worked in the transport industry for more than 25 years, it is a great honor for me to be included in this excellent advice,” Medina said in a statement.
Carson oversees human resources in the North American region at Turner & Townsend, a global professional services company specializing in projects in infrastructure, real estate and natural resources.
“As a customer on the NJ Transit rail system since the 1990s, my goal is to bring passengers’ experience into the conversation about how we best accomplish our mission of providing safe, reliable and affordable public transportation,” Carson said. in the statement. .
Weiss is the president and CEO of the Newark Alliance, a nonprofit organization focused on reviving Newark. He previously served as Senior Financial and Major Projects Advisor in the Murphy Administration, including overseeing the Gateway Project’s public financial review.
“I understand the burden of this work, especially for New Jersey cities, where safe and reliable transportation services are the basis for creating economic opportunities for all New Jersey residents,” said Weiss, who also said in a statement that he is “lifelong.” transport bus and railway. “
Brown has been a conductor of NJ Transit and a member of SMART-TD Local 60 for 15 years. She represents one of the non-voting positions on the board.
“I look forward to working hard to push New Jersey Transit forward and make it better for our passengers and staff,” Brown said in a statement.
A board with a story
The path to the NJ Transit board – and exit – has been rocky in recent years.
- Several months of backstage talks between Weinberg and the Murphy administration took place before four elections appointed and approved by the Senate to the board. (And one of these members was not fully engaged for three months after that because of Fr. Conflict of interest of the Woodrow Wilson era lag.
- Two additional names were nominated by Murphy and Weinberg in 2020, but a few days before they were due to appear in the Senate, the governor thwarted their appointments for unknown reasons. Questions were raised on whether the governor’s election meets the standards of a new law requiring some members to use public transportation.
- Also, the board no longer has representatives without the right to vote. Ray Greaves, who represented bus drivers from the largest labor organization associated with NJ Transit, resigned after changing jobs at the union and was not replaced. David Rasmussen, who represented the train conductors union, was appointed by Murphy in 2020 and retired in July 2021 after he was arrested and charged with insurance fraud.
Currently, nine of the 13 seats on the board are occupied. They are:
- Three seats: the chair occupied by the Commissioner of the Department of Transport Diana Gutierrez-Skocheti; a representative of the Ministry of Finance; and Governor’s representative Norin Giblin.
- The seat of the President of the Senate. Sangita Dosha was elected Former Senate President Steve Sweeney.
- The seat occupied by the Speaker of the Assembly. Shanti Nara was elected speaker Craig Coughlin.
- Four seats are appointed by the governor and approved by the Senate. These are: Adams, Cedric Fulton, Bob Gordon and Richard of Morocco.
If the three candidates are approved in the Senate process, the council will be fully staffed for the first time, as required by the 2018 reform legislation.
Colin Wilson covers the Port of New Jersey administration and transit for NorthJersey.com. To get unlimited access to her work covering the region’s transportation systems and how they affect your travels, sign up or activate your digital account today.