By William Lewis
The recent situation involving New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and the slowdown on the George Washington Bridge that lasted for several days raises a significant number of questions.
It is difficult to accept that Christie knew absolutely nothing about the scandal. If he did not know anything about what his senior staff members were planning in terms of slowing down the bridge traffic as a way of getting even with one or more public officials for not supporting Christie during the fall election for re-election, he should have known.
It certainly is a fair question as to how Christie runs the governor’s office in terms of how he deals with his senior aides. The fact that they thought they could do something as bizarre as tying up the George Washington Bridge for several days and not inform the governor as to what they were doing and why raises the conclusion that Christie has little control over his staff.
If that is the case, we can only wonder how many other things his people did without his knowledge and approval.
What standards did Christie use when he hired his staff members, especially senior staff members?
One important aspect to this case is what new procedures Christie has put in place to see to it that something like this will not happen again during the rest of his term.
It may be that Christie is spending too much time unofficially running for president, looking forward to the 2016 presidential race.
Regardless of the circumstances, Christie will probably agree that he should be spending more time in the governor’s office than he has in the recent past.
Certainly the result of the Bridgegate scandal and other questions about things he has been involved in brings to the forefront how effective a president he would make.
When we look at the list of governors New York state has had during the last 50 years, with the exception of Eliot Spitzer, there have been no major scandals involving our state chief executives during that period of time. Let us hope it stays that way.
This George Washington Bridge scandal certainly proves the need for a hands-on chief executive who is aware of what projects his staff are working on over a period of time and who receives periodic reports as to their progress.
As for future U.S. presidential races, most of our presidents during the last century came to the presidency from state governorships. It is difficult for a governor to campaign for president considering the administrative responsibilities one has. A governor running for president, however, does usually have more administrative experience in running a government than most other professions.
In New York City during the 1920s, we had one corrupt administration in the mayor’s office: the Jimmy Walker administration. Hopefully, safeguards have been put in place to prevent further scandals like the ones during the Walker administration.
Christie is correct when he said he takes responsibility for what happens on his watch.
At the Northeast Queens Republican Club’s recent meeting, they elected a new club president. Kevin Ryan has a public relations background. He has worked on various political campaigns in the past. He hopes to recruit candidates to run for public office.
Ryan will also be working on community outreach, as he intends to get his club more involved in neighborhood civic matters.