NEWARK, New Jersey — The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is not governed by state whistleblower protection laws, a New Jersey judge has ruled in the case of a former employee who claimed he was retaliated against after reporting misconduct.
The ruling published last week by state Superior Court Judge Lisa Rose in Hudson County dismissed a lawsuit by Jay Alpert, a former Bergen County sheriff who was working with the Port Authority's office of emergency management in Jersey City.
Alpert claimed he was fired after reporting to superiors that a police captain had made copies of police promotional exams and was sharing them with prospective candidates.
According to court papers, one of the officials Alpert told was David Wildstein, the Port Authority's director of interstate capital projects who recently pleaded guilty in the George Washington Bridge lane-closing scandal. Alpert was fired in September 2012 after an investigation into the validity of college degrees listed on his resume, the Port Authority said at the time.
Rose agreed with the Port Authority's position that, as a bistate agency created by a compact between the two states, it isn't liable under the whistleblower laws of either New York or New Jersey unless both states' laws are closely similar.
Robert Woodruff, an attorney representing Alpert, said Tuesday he is considering appealing Rose's decision.
A Port Authority spokesman said the agency wasn't commenting on the ruling Tuesday. The agency recently strengthened its internal whistleblower policy among a series of reforms prompted in part by the bridge scandal.
Woodruff wasn't sure if that would have made a difference in Alpert's case.
"It's hard for someone to exercise that policy when they've been fired," he said. "It presents a real problem for individuals in my client's position."