Saturday, September 24, 2016

Bridgegate trial spotlights those who forgot how to behave

Strangely, in almost every spare moment, whether he’s walking into the federal courthouse in Newark with his lawyers, pacing the corridors or turning to look over the gallery during a break in testimony, Bill Baroni sports a wide, friendly grin – as if he couldn’t be happier with his new role. what’s he smiling about? (Amy Newman, staff photographer)

Mike Kelly, a columnist for The Record writes:

LET’S FACE IT, being a government worker is not all that complicated. Tax collectors collect taxes. Street cleaners clean streets. Firefighters put out fires. Cops write tickets and arrest criminals. Simple, straight-forward stuff.



Now consider the Bridgegate trial that began last week. Consider what we are learning about all these public servants who took on tasks that were never part of their job descriptions. All this extra work.
Truly amazing to behold.

Let’s begin with Bill Baroni, one of the top officials at the Port Authority, personally appointed by Governor Christie. Baroni is now on trial for stepping out of his role and helping to orchestrate the traffic scheme that gridlocked Fort Lee’s streets for five days in September 2013 as punishment for the town’s Democratic mayor’s refusal to endorse

Baroni was supposed to be keeping an eye on no fewer than six major airports, including JFK International, Newark Liberty and La Guardia, which happen to be among the busiest in the nation. He was also supposed to be overseeing the operations at two Hudson River Tunnels and four bridges, including the George Washington Bridge, which is the busiest in the world and a prime terrorist target.

And, yes, let’s not forget the PATH subway system, the commuter bus terminal in midtown Manhattan, and the rebuilding of the World Trade Center, which happens to include a 1,776-foot-tall skyscraper.

Big job, no?

Consider Baroni now. He is trying to fend off a nine-count federal indictment for his alleged involvement in the Bridgegate scheme.
Strangely, in almost every spare moment, whether he’s walking into the federal courthouse in Newark with his lawyers, pacing the corridors or turning to look over the gallery during a break in testimony, Baroni sports a wide, friendly grin – as if he couldn’t be happier with his new role. What’s he smiling about?

Read the full column here 


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