In long-expected moves, Gov. Phil Murphy removed Chris Christie’s pick to head the state’s takeover of Atlantic City, Jeff Chiesa, and the entirety of the state’s investment council, including leader Tom Byrne, this week.
The moves are consistent with those of previous administrations and represent the governor’s desire to have people in those spots who are more in line with his way of thinking.
In Atlantic City, Murphy announced Chiesa, of the prominent West Orange firm Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi, will be out within 30 days.
Chiesa, a former attorney general under Christie who also briefly served as a U.S. senator from New Jersey, had been overseeing Atlantic City since the state took control in November 2016.
Murphy, who had been critical of the takeover, said it will continue, but under the direction of the state Department of Community Affairs, which is headed by Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver.
Oliver said the DCA will continue to play an active role in Atlantic City. She said she feels Atlantic City is headed in the right direction.
“This ongoing partnership between DCA’s knowledgeable local government experts and the city’s governing body and its professionals will keep Atlantic City moving in the right direction for its residents and businesses and the surrounding region,” Oliver said.
Murphy said in a statement that the arrangement should be viewed as a partnership.
“The economic revitalization of Atlantic City is critical to advancing our overall state economy,” he said. “The actions we are taking today will ensure we are working in full partnership with the city to ensure economic growth and empowerment for all Atlantic City residents.”
The impact on the investment council isn’t as clear.
The governor gets to appoint nine members of the 16-member council to terms varying from three to five years. Four of those spots were vacant at the start of the week.
The governor nominated eight people Monday:
- Ted Aronson, an institutional investment adviser;
- Danielle Beyer, the CEO of the New America Alliance;
- Wasseem Boraie, a real estate developer;
- Leonard Carr of PDT Partners, a global investment manager;
- Vaughn Crowe, who works for the MCJ Amelior Foundation;
- Samir Pandiri, the CEO of Asset Servicing at the Bank of New York Mellon Corp.;
- Deepak Raj, who runs his own private investment firm;
- Susan Soh, the chief of strategy and development at Sightway Capital.
All of these nominees must be approved by the state Senate.
Murphy has yet to announce which person he would like to head up the council.