Gov. Chris Christie today named Marc Ferzan, a managing director at PricewaterhouseCoopers, to a cabinet-level position from which he will direct recovery efforts as the state looks to rebound from Hurricane Sandy.
Christie also announced New Jersey has retained James Witt, of Witt Associates, to assist in the rebuilding process. Witt is a special adviser to the state of Louisiana, assisting with the long-term recovery effort in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and served as director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency under Bill Clinton.
"I know from talking to Governor Barber, Governor Jindal, Governor Bush, that they said it was imperative to have one person inside the governor's office coordinating this effort. That when they tried it other ways, things fell through the cracks," Christie said in a press conference this morning. "I don't need to reinvent the wheel here. I want to do this the right way."
Ferzan has almost a decade of experience as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. attorney's office in New Jersey. His left his last public position, in the attorney general's office, in June.
Ferzan's top responsibility will be directing oversight and coordination of long-term recovery efforts for New Jersey in cooperation with all federal, state, local, private, and nongovernmental partners. His first task will be to develop a team to guide this effort.
"It's a critical moment for the state now as we move forward to address the immediate needs of individuals and communities, but also look towards the future to rebuild and revitalize," Ferzan said during the news conference. "To achieve success, we'll need to work as a team, a model that has served us very well through this storm and to this point."
Christie also announced today that the estimated cost of mitigation, protection and prevention associated with the storm is $7.4 billion, bringing the total cumulative cost to $36.8 billion. He said he's submitting that information to the White House today.