Anthony Sartor, the head of the well-respected Warren-based engineering firm PS&S and longest serving commissioner with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, is retiring after serving on its board for 15 years and through six Garden State governors.
Sartor, 71, notified the agency's secretary of his retirement in a letter dated Monday, nearly 10 months after his most recent term as commissioner expired.
"Having continued to serve through the New Jersey 2013 gubernatorial election, I wanted to retire as soon thereafter as practicable," Sartor wrote. "Timing for such things is never perfect for all concerned. But for one of the first times in my public life, I have allowed my personal and family priorities to prevail."
Sartor's retirement comes amid great turmoil for the agency — stemming from the so-called Bridgegate scandal that has ensnared Gov. Chris Christie and several top Port Authority officials, including former Chairman David Samson. But Sartor has not been linked to the scandal since it began to unravel last fall.
After being appointed by Gov. Christine Whitman in 1999, Sartor has been deeply involved in the redevelopment of the World Trade Center. His duties as a Port Authority commissioner were immediately transformed after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and his decades of construction and engineering expertise instantly became central to the effort.
"Participating in the leadership of the Trade Center site development has allowed me to contribute to the national interest, given me a sense of personal pride and was a daily reminder to me of the sorrow occasioned by the loss of more than 3,000 innocent lives on 9/11," Sartor wrote in his letter.
Sartor, however, made sure to steer clear of any potential conflicts on the Trade Center project.
Because of his role as head of PS&S, Sartor has often removed himself officially from World Trade Center decisions. The Record reported in January that he had recused himself from more than 200 votes.
Sartor, who had been asked to remain on the board by both governors Donald DiFrancesco and Jon S. Corzine, said Monday that it was now time to retire from public service, noting that "time with my family is cherished."
In his letter, Sartor expressed support for Christie.
"Were it not for my respect and appreciation for the leadership of Governor Christie, this letter would have been written months ago," he said.