Commission declines to reinstate assemblyman to waterfront job
Assemblyman William Sampson lost his job as a port crane operator in a Bayonne port when the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor found he was excessively absent. (Hal Brown for New Jersey Monitor)
The Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor has declined to reinstate Assemblyman William Sampson (D-Hudson) to a position as a port crane operator in a Bayonne port, affirming an earlier decision that found Sampson’s elected position did not excuse his serial absenteeism.
In a unanimous 2-0 vote, waterfront commissioners Wednesday denied Sampson’s request to reconsider the Dec. 21 decision to remove him from his position at the Global Container Terminals Port in Bayonne.
Waterfront Commissioners Paul Weinstein and Jennifer Davenport did not say why they voted against the motion to reconsider Sampson’s ouster, though commission staff said the body would release a memorandum of decision outlining their reasoning.
Commission staff could not say when that memorandum would be released.
Sampson joined the Legislature in January after a political shakeup that included the ouster of former Assemblyman Nicholas Chiaravallot. He represents the 31st District, an overwhelmingly Democratic area that includes Bayonne and parts of Jersey City.
The commission ousted Sampson last month after finding he failed to work the required number of days in 2022. Waterfront rules require longshoremen to work or be available to work for at least 90 days in every half-calendar year, including at least 15 days in five of six months during the half-year period.
In December, Sampson argued his legislative absences should be excused because they benefited International Longshoremen’s Association Local 1588, where he held a job as political director.
In a statement following their Dec. 21 decision, the commission said Sampson provided no reason for not making himself available for work on Saturdays and admitted he could have worked on some days he attended events.
New Jersey’s part-time Legislature allows lawmakers to keep their day jobs, and most do, though few publicly claim their legislative position benefits their private employer.
A request for comment left with the International Longshoremen’s Association Local 1588 was not immediately returned. Sampson’s legislative office did not immediately return a request for comment.
Sampson gained his seat in the Legislature after Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis invoked a longstanding agreement that allows Hudson County mayors to pick some members of their legislative delegations. Hudson County’s Democratic Party backed Davis’ pick of Sampson over Chiaravalloti, who ended up not seeking reelection rather than run without party backing. Davis has never publicly explained his motivations for ousting Chiaravalloti.
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