The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will consolidate all its security functions into a new department as part of several reforms announced Thursday aimed at modernizing the agency and cutting costs.
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff recommended creating the new department after his consulting firm conducted a study and found that the current situation suffered from lack of coordination and clear lines of responsibility.
Chertoff said the changes, which will include the appointment a chief security officer, would bring the Port Authority “into the 21st century.”
Port Authority officials did not provide a timeline for the creation of the new department or the naming of its new security chief.
The new security department was one of three initiatives announced by the agency Thursday in what officials say is an ongoing campaign of reform. The agency has come under fire recently from politicians on both side of the Hudson who will hold joint hearings in April into what they call its “lack of accountability.”
The other two reforms are a phased-in reduction in employee salaries and benefits that agency officials say will save tens of millions of dollars a year, and a revamping of the agency’s public information policy intended to liberalize and streamline public access to its records.
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