TRENTON – Governor Chris Christie has nominated Louis Goetting of Point Pleasant Beach to serve on the board of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority. Goetting’s appointment follows protestations from area municipal, state & county politicians about a lack of Ocean County representation on the board that oversees the state’s toll roads.
After numerous calls from Ocean County elected officials to get representation on the board of the Turnpike Authority, Governor Christie has selected Goetting, an Ocean County resident and former administration insider, for the job.
Nominee is a Former Christie Admin. Official, Connected to Lobbying Firm That Represented Exxon
According to his LinkedIn profile, Goetting (pronounced getting) is a resident of Point Pleasant Beach and previously served in two high level Christie administration positions. From 2010 to 2012, he served as Governor Christie’s cabinet secretary, a role that saw him coordinate cabinet departments within the governor’s office. Following that role, he served as Christie’s deputy chief of staff from 2012 to 2014.
Goetting has since been the principal of consulting firm NJ Advisors. In his own words, Goetting describes his role with that firm as “Delivering public policy and management assistance to select clients relying on over forty years of executive level service in municipalities, institutions of higher education and state government.”
After he departed the Christie administration, Goetting and his consulting firm partnered with lobbying firm Public Strategies Impact, LLC. in an “exclusive strategic partnership.” The firm Goetting partnered with also represented Exxon, as the International Business Times reported in 2015, at the height of the controversial settlement over that company’s pollution case, citing among other things, campaign contributions made by Exxon to the Republican Governor’s Association.
Critics of the Christie administration’s handling of the Exxon settlement questioned why the state settled for the comparably paltry sum of $225 million when the original lawsuit sought damages in the billions.
Legal “Triple Dipping”
Goetting, for his part, has been identified as a so-called “triple-dipper” in past reports about his numerous public sector positions. While he was writing for New Jersey Watchdog, investigative journalist Mark Lagerkvist wrote that Goetting pocketed over $1 million in public severance payouts and retirement deals after leaving the Christie Administration.
“So far, Goetting has legally triple-dipped roughly $1.1 million from public coffers,” Lagerkvist wrote. “He has collected $734,000 in early retirement checks from the state in addition to $370,000 in payouts from Brookdale and UMDNJ. And that doesn’t count his pay from the governor’s office.”
At least three Ocean County politicians were pleased with Governor Christie’s nomination of Goetting. State Senator Chris Connors (R-Forked River) and the 9th district’s Brian Rumpf & Diane Gove issued a statement in support of Goetting’s nomination.
“While we would have preferred that a local area resident have been nominated years ago, certainly our Delegation is pleased with Mr. Goetting’s nomination to the Turnpike Authority Board,” the legislators said in a joint statement. “That said, we are confident that Mr. Goetting understands our area’s need for a strong voice and will act in the best interest of local commuters.”
In recent months, the LD9 delegation has pursued state legislation to require South Jersey representation on the Turnpike Authority, which has traditionally been dominated by North Jersey interests.