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American Shipper

Spitzer orders investigation of N.Y. Waterfront Commission

Spitzer orders investigation of N.Y. Waterfront Commission

New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer has ordered an investigation of the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, citing “recent allegations of misfeasance and nonfeasance by personnel of the Waterfront Commission, including allegations of misconduct, conflicts of interest, abuse and waste.”

   News of the investigation broke late last week in New York and New Jersey newspapers, though Spitzer issued an executive order for the investigation in October.

   The Waterfront Commission was formed 50 years ago to combat criminal activity and influence in the Port of New York and New Jersey of the sort dramatized in the film On the Waterfront, and to ensure fair hiring and employment practices.

   But in recent years stevedoring companies have chafed under commission regulations that prevent them from freely increasing the size of their workforce. Instead they must get approval from the commission to do so. In September legislation that would give companies more leeway in hiring was signed into law in New Jersey, but similar legislation has not been approved in New York and the law must be approved in both states for it to come into effect

   Spitzer appointed Kristine Hamann, the Inspector General of the State of New York, “to study, examine, investigate, review and make recommendations with respect to the management and affairs of the Waterfront Commission.”

   New Jersey's Star-Ledger quoted Thomas De Maria, executive director of the commission, as saying he was “quite startled” by the investigation, and said he hasn’t been told what the investigation is about, who has made allegations, or who the targets of the investigation are. But De Maria, himself a former assistant attorney general in charge of the Nassau Regional Office of the New York State Attorney General, expressed confidence to the newspaper that there was no wrongdoing at the agency.

   Spitzer’s executive order can be found here: www.ny.gov/governor/executive_orders/exeorders/18.html. ' Chris Dupin

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