What was once merely an annoyance for NJ Governor Chris Christie is now an official pain-in-the-ass: The outrage over a Christie appointee demanding last-minute lane closures from Fort Lee, NJ to the George Washington Bridge—resulting in hours-long backups for days—has now prompted Christie to give a press conference... and announce that his top official in the Port Authority has resigned!

PA Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni has resigned and Christie said, "This was a change I was going to make anyway in the normal course of the transition. Bill said this has become such a distraction that he didn’t want to cause any more problems so he knew he was going, so he went today." Well, yeah—check out this email (PDF), via the Wall Street Journal:

Executive Director Patrick Foye, Mr. Baroni’s counterpart [appointed by NY Governor Cuomo], alerted his top communications aide that he intended to “get word out” about the reopening of the bridge lanes on the morning of Sept. 13. The lane closures had occurred without the consent of Mr. Foye, the top executive appointee of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who had not been advised of them, or the ensuing traffic jams they caused.

His email prompted a quick response from Mr. Baroni.

“Pat we need to discuss prior to any communications,” Mr. Baroni wrote to Mr. Foye and Lisa MacSpadden, Mr. Foye’s spokeswoman.

“Bill we are going to fix this fiasco,” Mr. Foye wrote back.

“I am on way to office to discuss,” Mr. Baroni typed back from his iPhone. “There can be no public discourse.”

It's believed that Christie asked his childhood buddy and another Port Authority appointee, David Wildstein, to shut down two of the three lanes from Fort Lee to the bridge because the town's Democratic mayor refused to endorse Christie for re-election (Christie was looking for bipartisan support).

Christie continued to deny that politics was involved, "The fact is that Senator Baroni said when he testified that a mistake was made. They believe that the study needed to be done but they didn’t do it correctly within the protocols of the Port Authority... He’s taken responsibility for that, as well he should because he’s the lead person for New Jersey at the Port and he’s the one that approved it at Mr. Wildstein’s request."

NJ Democratic assemblyman John Wisniewski, who has been holding hearings about the matter, described the Port Authority, which is chock full of patronage hires, thusly to the Times, "it’s not like a sewage authority — it has a budget bigger than 26 other U.S. states. It’s like Louisiana under Huey Long, except it’s a collective Huey Long — no one person can control the agency. You have rival gangs."