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Degnan, Foye replaced at Port Authority; O'Toole is new chairman and Cotton is new exec. director

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John Degnan is being replaced as chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
John Degnan is being replaced as chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. - ()

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Chairman John Degnan and Executive Director Pat Foye are losing their jobs, Gov. Chris Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday, giving way to former New Jersey Sen. Kevin O’Toole and Cuomo staffer Rick Cotton, respectively.

O’Toole, the new chairman of the board of commissioners, and Cotton, now executive director, will take over the search for a new Port Authority CEO, according to a news release from the governors’ offices. They will take over their new roles following the next meeting of the board.

“John Degnan’s leadership at the Port Authority will be remembered as a period when transparency and public access were greatly enhanced, and the agency recommitted itself to a core mission of transportation infrastructure,” Christie said in a prepared statement. “In thanking him for his extraordinary service, I also want to recognize his many years of dedication to public service in New Jersey over the past four decades and to wish him well in his next pursuit.

“I can think of no one better than Kevin O’Toole to assume the Port Authority chairmanship at this point, with New Jersey and New York moving forward with the most important project in generations to impact commuters and the economy in the Northeast Corridor, the Gateway Program. Kevin is the right person at the right time.”

The next board meeting is scheduled for Sept. 28, according to the Port Authority website.

O’Toole, who was a state senator from 2008 until July 1, is the managing partner of the law firm O’Toole Scrivo Fernandez Weiner Van Lieu LLC.

Cotton has been Cuomo’s special counsel for interagency initiatives since January 2015, overseeing major infrastructure priorities, after 25 years at NBC Universal, among other jobs in the public and private sectors.

“Pat Foye has done an exceptional job serving the Port Authority with bold leadership and a tireless commitment to bettering the transportation infrastructure of New York and New Jersey, and I wish him the very best,” Cuomo said in a statement. “With major infrastructure projects across the region underway, including the new JFK and La Guardia airports, the Port Authority has unprecedented momentum, and Rick Cotton has the experience and tenacity to continue moving these transformative projects ahead and lead the organization into the future.”

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