Joe Fiordaliso, longtime head of BPU, has died. He was 78

Joe Fiordaliso, the longtime head of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities and a fierce advocate for offshore wind and other clean energy efforts, has died. He was 78.

Fiordaliso had served as the head of the BPU for 18 years — doing it with the grace of a gentleman. A longtime public servant, he previously served three terms as mayor of Livingston.

“He had an infectious personality and generous spirit,” Gov. Phil Murphy said.

Murphy honored Fiordaliso for his service.

“As president of the BPU since the beginning of my administration, Joe skillfully led our work to responsibly transition to a clean energy economy while always putting the needs of consumers first,” Murphy said. “He also was a key figure in our storm response efforts and in ensuring that all New Jerseyans had access to critical services like clean water, electricity and broadband.”

New Jersey Utilities Association CEO Rich Henning called Fiordaliso an amazing public servant.

“He dedicated his life to doing right by the people of New Jersey, whether he was teaching our children, serving his beloved residents as mayor and councilman in Livingston, or leading the Board of Public Utilities through some of the toughest issues such as COVID-19 and our move to a clean energy future,” Henning said.

“He was our partner and our friend. This is a tremendous loss for our state and for those of us who were lucky enough to know Joe. Our deepest sympathies to his family during this time.”

In recent years, Fiordaliso was strong in his support of new energy options. But, with the knowledge that comes with experience, Fiordaliso said the efforts must be done smartly and slowly — and with the ratepayer in mind.

“All of these clean energy initiatives are long-term,” he said at a major conference last summer. “I know that there are many environmental groups who want us to turn the switch now, but we have to do it prudently.”

Murphy, also a strong proponent of offshore wind, loved having his support.

“Every time you saw Joe, he was wearing his signature offshore wind pin or handing one out to anyone and everyone he met,” he said.

Fiordaliso is survived by his wife, Marilyn Fiordaliso, his children, Dana and Joe, and six grandchildren.

Other reflections:

  • Tom Bracken, CEO, New Jersey Chamber of Commerce: “We mourn the loss of BPU President Joe Fiordaliso, who had the right traits for a public servant — insightful, passionate, authentic, straightforward and pragmatic. He led the Murphy administration’s push for clean energy in a thoughtful way — and we were grateful that he considered all who would be affected, including the business community. He was a special guest speaker at New Jersey Chamber events on multiple occasions, and the give-and-take between him and our members was invariably genuine and constructive. We may not have always agreed with Joe’s positions, but we respected him. He will be missed.”
  • Craig Coughlin, Assembly speaker (D-Woodbridge):  “I am sorry to hear about President Fiordaliso’s passing. He was a talented, dedicated public servant in local and state government. He set a tone of collegiality and respect, bringing people together to get things done for New Jersey.”
  • Jim Fakult, president of New Jersey operations, FirstEnergy Corp. (Jersey Central Power & Light): “New Jersey is a better place to live, work and raise a family thanks to President Fiordaliso’s dedicated public service and leadership. He recognized and celebrated the opportunity to help lead our state in securing a brighter future. Joe treated everyone who dealt with the BPU with fairness and humility while fostering collaboration between the state’s utilities — all for the good of New Jersey’s residents and businesses. We are thankful for and honor his decades of service to the people of the Garden State. Our thoughts and condolences are with his family, including his wife, Marilyn, his children and grandchildren.”
  • Janice Fuller, president, Mid-Atlantic, Anbaric Development Partners: “Today, we mourn the passing of President Fiordaliso — an unwavering ally in New Jersey’s clean energy transition and longtime public servant. President Fiordaliso’s visionary leadership on offshore wind and historic commitment to move New Jersey toward a clean energy future will leave a lasting positive impact on the state of New Jersey and its residents. I offer my deepest condolences to his family and many friends during this time.”
  • Public Service Enterprise Group: “We at PSEG are extremely saddened to hear of Joe Fiordaliso’s passing. Joe was a true public servant and a longtime fixture in New Jersey. His long tenure at the NJBPU saw him lead the agency through truly transformative times. Joe was there as our state rebuilt after Hurricane Sandy, and he has been a key part of the state’s transition to a cleaner energy future. He will be truly missed.”
  • Christina Renna, CEO, Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey: “Throughout his esteemed career, President Fiordaliso was a dedicated public servant and leader in statewide energy policy. His impact extended beyond the realm of energy, as he was a respected figure within New Jersey’s business community, working collaboratively with the CCSNJ and its members to promote economic development and job creation. The CCSNJ had the privilege of hosting President Fiordaliso many times during his tenure as president of the board, as recently as last month, and, as always, we appreciated his willingness to address our members thoroughly and candidly. We send our sincerest condolences to his family during this difficult time.”
  • Mike Renna, CEO, South Jersey Industries: “All of us at SJI are incredibly saddened to hear of the passing of New Jersey Board of Public Utilities President Joe Fiordaliso. We had the privilege of working closely with him over the years on several initiatives to better the lives of New Jersey residents, including advancements in clean energy and energy efficiency, as well as his work to make energy assistance more accessible and affordable for all residents. Joe, as a friend and leader, is irreplaceable. He will be deeply missed.”
  • Dave Rible, executive director, Utility and Transportation Contractors Association: “It would be difficult to find a more caring, dedicated person than Joe Fiordaliso. He exemplified the best in what we could hope for in a public servant, first as a councilman and mayor, then in his work with Gov. (Richard) Codey and then leading the Board of Public Utilities. It is a remarkable legacy. Joe was approachable and easily likable, but, perhaps most importantly, he was a family man, dedicated to his wife, children and grandchildren. This is a sad day for New Jersey.”
  • Michele Siekerka, CEO, New Jersey Business & Industry Association: “NJBIA mourns the passing of Board of Public Utilities President Joe Fiordaliso today. Both as president and in his years prior with the BPU, Joe was truly and passionately committed to his job and its many missions. And even when we didn’t agree on policy issues, President Fiordaliso always had an open door, took part in many NJBIA events and had receptive ears to our concerns.”
  • Maddie Urbish, head of government affairs, Ørsted: “I’m so heartbroken. I had the distinct pleasure of working closely with President Fiordaliso for some time, and his passion for life, family and the state was like no other. His lifelong service and commitment to making our world a better place while meaningfully working across the aisle is an example of what it means to be a public servant. I, like so many others, will miss him deeply. Thank you for all that you have given, Mr. President, and may God bless you and your family.”