Pa. official: Christie should back off new Port Authority CEO

State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale.

UPDATE: Inquirer's Paul Nussbaum has the story. EARLIER: Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale this morning called on embattled NJ Gov. Chris Christie "to refrain from appointing a chief executive officer" for the Delaware River Port Authority "until a nationwide search is conducted." Christie is trying to get current DRPA CEO John Matheussen named a Superior Court judge in NJ. DRPA, which runs the major bridges, Patco trains and RiverLink ferries between Philadelphia and Chester, and South Jersey, has been boosting fares (and losing riders) in an effort to cover past "economic development" giveaways to businesses in the region.

“This authority exists to provide safe, reliable transportation for people to get to work, recreation and entertainment. A national search is necessary to ensure we get the best qualified professional to, literally, make sure the trains run on time for the people paying the fare,” said DePasquale in his statement. A Democrat, he's one of 16 political appointees on the DRPA Board of Commissioners. (Of the 16, 6 are appointed by Pa. Gov., 2 are elected Pa. officials including DiPasquale, NJ Gov. appoints 8 to five-year terms with state Senate approval, notes DRBA's Tim Ireland.) 

New Jersey's Governor (currently Christie, a Republican) appoints the day-to-day DRPA Chief Executive while Pennsylvania governors appoint board chairmen. DRPA rakes in $300 million a year and employs 860.