New Jersey gets new storm czar

New Jersey is getting a new storm czar as the man Gov. Chris Christie appointed to lead the state’s recovery from Superstorm Sandy steps down. 

Christie on Tuesday tapped Terrence Brody to be the executive director of the Office of Recovery and Rebuilding.

Brody will replace Marc Ferzan who is moving to Virginia where he will teach at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia. His wife, Kimberly Ferzan, has joined the law school faculty.

Ferzan, who previously worked for Christie at the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the state government, was named to the post soon after Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

Brody has served as Ferzan’s deputy.

Ferzan and Brody developed a coordinated approach to disaster recovery after Sandy and quickly implemented programs to deliver assistance to victims, Christie said. The governor’s office credits them for delivering assistance to Sandy survivors and overseeing efforts to rebuild boardwalks and homes.

But Senate Environment Committee chairman Bob Smith criticized Ferzan’s performance.“I was disappointed in Mr. Ferzan in that he refused to communicate with the committees that had jurisdiction. We invited to him to four hearings all over the state,” said Smith, D-Bergen. “He refused to come to any of them and at all those hearings we had hundreds of people coming to talk about how poorly they were treated by their state government.”

New Jersey Sierra Club director Jeff Tittel said Ferzan and Brody have a weak track record.

“So many people along the coast are still suffering. So many claims were denied erroneously. They hired HGI, which couldn’t even get the money out the door,” Tittel said. “So it’s been one disappointment after another.”

Tittel says he does not expect Brody to change rebuilding policies.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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