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Port Authority Head Chris Ward to Depart, According to Report

By DNAinfo Staff on September 29, 2011 10:51am

Port Authority Executive Director Chris Ward will reportedly step down at the end of October.
Port Authority Executive Director Chris Ward will reportedly step down at the end of October.
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DNAinfo/Julie Shapiro

MANHATTAN — Port Authority head Chris Ward will leave his post at the end of October following differences with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, according to reports.

Ward, who was appointed as executive director of the transportation agency in May 2008 under former Gov. David Paterson, has been praised for his work on the World Trade Center site.

He was credited with overseeing the successful opening of the 9/11 Memorial in time for the 10th anniversary of the attacks and recruiting publishing company Conde Nast to move its headquarters to the progressing One World Trade building.

The Harvard Divinity School graduate, who once served as CEO of American Stevedoring and as commissioner of the city’s Department of Environmental Protection, also oversaw an unpopular fare and toll hike during his tenure at the Authority and sparred with Gov. Andrew Cuomo over the Port Authorities financial practices.

Ward struck back against the Governor’s accusations of “exorbitant spending” in August, warning that if New York and the rest of the country did not invest more aggressively in infrastructure, the United States would have to "continually play catch-up with the rest of the world."

"We are truly seeing the consequences of the slow deterioration…of the social contract," Ward said at the time, referring to pushes for spending cuts exemplified by the Tea Party.

Cuomo, who has spurned fellow Democrats by prioritizing the need for fiscal austerity, was rumored to have been seeking a replacement for Ward this summer.

Ward’s impending departure, which was first reported by the New York Times on Wednesday, follows the resignation of MTA Chairman Jay Walder, who is set to leave next month.

Like Ward, Walder had also been known to clash with Cuomo, according to the Times.