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Christie Follows Advice to Appoint Independent Reviewer

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie appointed an independent reviewer to investigate any suspected misconduct in his office, among the recommendations in an internal analysis of the George Washington Bridge traffic jams.

Patrick Hobbs, dean of Seton Hall University Law School in Newark, will serve in the new position of ombudsman, according to a news release from Christie’s office today. Hobbs, 54, a resident of Basking Ridge, is chairman of the State Commission on Investigation, created in 1968 to combat organized crime and political corruption.

“Dean Hobbs will serve as an independent resource to the office of the governor and serve as an impartial outlet for employees to raise concerns,” the administration said in the statement. “He will have complete autonomy over the ombudsman program and determining the process and protocols for the program.”

The internal review of deliberate lane closings last year at the George Washington Bridge placed the blame on Bridget Anne Kelly, a onetime Christie deputy chief of staff, and David Wildstein, a former director of interstate capital projects for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the bridge. Kelly had e-mailed Wildstein to suggest “traffic problems in Fort Lee,” to which Wildstein replied: “Got it.”

Hobbs will help revise the office’s electronic communications policy and ensure that all employees receive appropriate training, according to the governor’s office.

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