Today New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced that he accepted the resignation of Deputy Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Bill Baroni. Baroni is the second Christie Port Authority appointee to resign after news broke that a massive traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge may have been caused by Christie appointees retaliating against a New Jersey mayor who had refused to endorse Governor Christie for re-election.
Governor Christie claimed in the press conference that Baroni’s resignation was pre-planned and not the result of an ongoing probe by the New Jersey Assembly Transportation Committee in which testimony was recently heard from Port Authority Director Patrick Foye that seemed to contradict testimony by Baroni. Baroni claimed the lane closures that caused the traffic jam were the result of a test the Port Authority was conducting, but Director Foye said he was unaware any test had been ordered.
The first Christie appointee to resign was David Wildstein who organized the test. Wildstein is a fixture in New Jersey politics after running a gossip column under the pseudonym “Wally Edge” for Politicker NJ, an Observer media property.
It is alleged that Wildstein and Baroni ordered the lane closures to the Fort Lee, New Jersey entrance to the George Washington Bridge in retaliation for the mayor of Fort Lee not endorsing Chris Christie for re-election.
Governor Christie said today that while he believes the traffic jam was a result of a mistake not malice, as governor he is ultimately responsible.
The Assembly Transportation Committee for its part will continue the investigation into what happened on the George Washington Bridge that day. The chair, John Wisniewski, had already called for Baroni to resign.