Port Authority dedicates emergency ops center in Jersey City to former official Ernesto L. Butcher

From The Jersey Journal

The Port Authority dedicated its Emergency Operations Center in Jersey City  today to its longtime chief operating officer, the late Ernesto L. Butcher, according to a press release.

 Ernesto L. Butcher. (NJNP/Star-Ledger file photo)

Ernesto L. Butcher. (NJNP/Star-Ledger file photo)

A plaque to honor Butcher’s memory will be placed at the Emergency Operations Center at the Port Authority Technical Center – where agency staff coordinate operations during major emergencies like Superstorm Sandy – and in the Board Room at 4 World Trade Center, the Port Authority’s new headquarters.

Butcher died earlier this year, two years after retiring from the bi-state agency.

During a ceremony at the newly dedicated Operations Center, Port Authority Chairman John Degnan lauded Butcher’s service to the agency, including his efforts to rally his colleagues and reopen key transportation facilities following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

“Today’s dedication will ensure that Ernesto Butcher is forever remembered as one of the most dedicated, exemplary public servants in the Port Authority’s storied history,” Degnan said. “His mastery of Port Authority operations was second to none, but perhaps more remarkable was his ability to lead with extraordinary poise and grace under extremely trying and difficult circumstances.  He will be missed, but his legacy will live on.”

Butcher’s widow, Kristen Peck Butcher, spoke in acknowledgement of the memorial to her husband, and one of his closest agency colleagues – former Chief Financial Officer A. Paul Blanco – offered a remembrance of Butcher.

When not at work, Butcher was an accomplished poet. His daughter, Mijha Godfrey, read one of his poems at the ceremony entitled “We Are As Stars.”

“Today’s dedication will ensure that Ernesto’s spirit and determination will never be forgotten,” said Port Authority Vice Chairman Scott Rechler.

Butcher’s Port Authority career spanned more than 40 years. He started at the Port Authority in 1971 as a management trainee and progressively rose through its ranks.

In 1999, Butcher was appointed the Port Authority’s chief operating officer, with broad responsibility for the agency’s airports, ports, tunnels, bridges and terminals, and the PATH system, as well as security and public safety operations.  He retired in 2012.


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