Cawley appointed to DRPA board

Gov. Corbett on Thursday appointed Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley to the Delaware River Port Authority board to replace hospital executive David F. Simon, who resigned.

It is anticipated that the DRPA board will elect Cawley to the chairman's post at its March meeting on Wednesday.

Corbett on Thursday appointed Simon, who is executive vice president and chief legal officer of Jefferson Health System, to chair Pennsylvania's eHealth Partnership Authority.

Cawley will arrive at the bistate DRPA at a tumultuous time, with an ongoing federal criminal investigation of the agency over past "economic development" spending, no permanent chief executive officer, and customer anger over recent problems at PATCO, the commuter rail line that is owned and operated by the DRPA.

In his resignation letter to Corbett, Simon said he thought a new chairman should "have a voice in selecting the new CEO." Former chief executive John Matheussen resigned in January, after he was appointed to New Jersey Superior Court by Gov. Christie.

Chief financial officer John Hanson is acting chief executive and is considered the leading candidate to replace Matheussen.

"I think we can be proud of what has been accomplished over the last three years," Simon said in his resignation letter, "including the end of economic development spending, budgetary discipline that has resulted in a bond rating upgrade and has assured the public of no toll or fare increases for the foreseeable future, and the implementation of a series of important reforms including competitive purchasing, an independent Office of the Inspector General, greater transparency of decision-making, and an active Citizens Advisory Committee."

Simon, of Gwynedd Valley, succeeded Corbett as chairman of the DRPA in October 2012.

The DRPA operates four toll bridges between South Jersey and Philadelphia as well as the PATCO rail line.

In a statement, Corbett said Cawley "is the perfect choice to further DRPA's mission."

"I have no doubt that he will provide strong counsel to the board as they seek the best ways to provide safe, reliable, customer-friendly transportation to the people of Southeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey."

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