In order to tap her expertise in dealing with the redevelopment of the former Bayonne Military Ocean Terminal, Acting Governor Richard Codey named Nancy Kist, the executive director of the Bayonne Local Redevelopment Authority, to the recently expanded state Council on Armed Forces and Veterans’ Affairs.
The council has had to deal more and more with the federal government’s choosing to close or not close military bases, and recently expanded its duties to include being involved in the quality of life for military personnel and their dependants, and dealing with paperwork involved in obtaining permits and other requests.
Kist said her nomination to the post came as a result with a conversation with Richard Branigan – an aide to Gov. Codey – about the council during the Base Closure Conference held at Monmouth University in November. “He asked if I was interested, given my experience both with closed installations and the fact that we still have U.S. Coast Guard presence in the community,” Kist said. “I told him sure I’d serve, if they thought I could provide some insight on supporting existing military facilities. So here I am.”
The expanded council came as a result of legislation submitted to the state Senate by state Sen. Ellen Karcher (D-12th Dist.) earlier this year.
“Our military bases are a vital component of our state’s economy, and allow New Jerseyans to contribute to the national security and viability of the country’s Armed Forces,” said Sen. Karcher, D-Monmouth and Mercer. “In the New Jersey municipalities that host military bases, the bases are a key part of the tapestry of community there. By expanding the membership and mission of the Council on Armed Forces, we would allow the council to work with base commanders in facilitating an open, productive relationship between our state and the local military installations.”
The law expanded the council from 10 to 22 members with the new members including the state commissioners of education, environmental protection, community affairs and transportation, as well as the treasurer and the chair of the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education. Kist is one of six public members representing community and business support groups for New Jersey’s military installation.
“With the New Jersey military bases in constant threat of closure through the federal BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) process, we need to make New Jersey as hospitable as possible to ensure that our bases avoid the chopping block,” Karcher said. “When you consider the thousands of military and civilian jobs that the military installations provide to New Jersey, the alternative would be absolutely devastating to the Garden State.”
In answering a frequently asked question, Kist said her background in law helped prepare her for the job at the BLRA, giving her experience at dealing with professionals in every field.
Dealing with professionals
She served as a city attorney in Bayonne until 2002, when she took over as executive director of the BLRA – which is overseeing the redevelopment of the 430-acre former Military Ocean Terminal in Bayonne. Kist has also called herself “a fast learner,” a quality that allowed her to deal with the complicated issues involved in the redevelopment.
“Bayonne was way in the forefront in dealing with the base closing,” said Council President Vincent Lo Re, who also serves as a commissioner on the BLRA. “This allows other people to benefit from our experiences. Nancy is one key of the reasons why we have done so well.”
Contact Al Sullivan at firstname.lastname@example.org