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Latest News - February 2014

February 20, 2014
Leader of Port Authority's Police Union to Reduce Role Amid Bridge Scandal
Source: Ny Times
By: William Rashbaum

The president of the union that represents police officers for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, who has come under increasing scrutiny in connection with the lane closings at the George Washington Bridge, told his membership on Thursday that he would step aside from the union’s day-to-day operations, a person briefed on the matter said.

The union president, Paul Nunziato, is among 30 people who have received subpoenas from a joint New Jersey legislative panel investigating allegations that access lanes to the bridge were shut down for four days by aides to Gov. Chris Christie as an act of political retribution. The lane closings are also the subject of a federal inquiry.

Mr. Nunziato, 51, a Port Authority police officer since 1987 and the president of the 1,300-member union, the Port Authority Police Benevolent Association, since 2010, told a meeting of the union’s membership that he would be stepping aside from day-to-day operations and that the vice president, Robert Morris, would take over, the person said.

It was unclear whether Mr. Nunziato gave a reason for why he is stepping aside and neither he, nor Mr. Morris nor a spokesman for the union returned calls and email messages on Thursday night seeking comment.

The union leader’s own comments have made him a figure of interest in the investigations into the lane closings, which have embroiled Mr. Christie in a scandal.

Mr. Nunziato is close to David Wildstein, who was the director of interstate capital projects at the Port Authority. He submitted his resignation on Dec. 6 after it was revealed he had ordered the lane closings.

In December, when some Port Authority officials were still maintaining that the closings were part of a traffic study, the union leader said the study had been his idea. Speaking to reporters after a Port Authority board meeting, Mr. Nunziato said he had put forward the idea at a breakfast with Mr. Wildstein.

Christopher J. Burgos, the president of the State Troopers Fraternal Association, praised Mr. Nunziato. “I see Paul as a fierce advocate for his police officers,” he said, “and in my opinion he’s one of the best.”

 

 

 


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