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Monday, March 21, 2011

NJ Newspapers Agree: Give Christie The Authority He Needs!

Newspapers across New Jersey agree: Governor Chris Christie ought to have veto authority over  independent boards, commissions and agencies that spend much of the public's money and do much of the public's business, often without our knowledge or consent.
Christie wants to crack down on these agencies but the Democrat-controlled legislature won't give the governor the authority he needs. We don't understand why. And neither do the newspaper. Here are some excerpts -- a sampling of what they have to say:

The Record, “It's time for the Legislature to .… Grant the veto”:
“GOVERNOR CHRISTIE'S crusade against the independent agencies, authorities and commissions that do much of the public's business makes for great theater. The latest act, a slapstick comedy featuring a double-dipper, an MIA commissioner and a reality television star at the North Jersey District Water Supply Commission, has us in stitches. If only the commission's business weren't so serious. … The governor has taken aim at the commission and sent three of its leaders packing in recent weeks. Entertaining, yes. True reform, we don't know. His office still lacks the tools to ensure these agencies hew to good-government rules. It's time for the Legislature to correct that. …A bill granting gubernatorial veto power at the North Jersey District Water Supply Commission or the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commissioners has sat in the Legislature for more than a year. Using veto power available at other authorities has saved an estimated $8 million during that time. That veto should be extended to these two commissions. … Grant the veto. … Good governance may mean fewer laughs, but at least they won't be at the public's expense.” (“No laughing matter,” The Record Editorial, 3/21/2011)


The Star-Ledger, “And while it’s obvious why the governor is going after them — one by one, hopefully — the Democrats’ refusal to give Christie the legislative authority he wants over these wayward agencies is baffling”:
“Gov. Chris Christie has turned his water cannon on the North Jersey District Water Supply Commission, demanding resignations from two members who refused to turn over records on spending and hiring practices. … For decades, the state’s commissions and boards have been the playgrounds of the politically connected, who have frolicked on the patronage teeter-totter and the tire swing of nepotism. At taxpayers’ and ratepayers’ expense, they have hired buddies and family members, paid exorbitant salaries and handed out ridiculous perks. Many are not in it to serve the public. They’re in it to serve themselves. And while it’s obvious why the governor is going after them — one by one, hopefully — the Democrats’ refusal to give Christie the legislative authority he wants over these wayward agencies is baffling. Actually, it’s not. It’s small-minded politics.” (“Give the Gov the power he wants over authorities,” Star-Ledger Editorial Board, 3/21/2011)

The Home News Tribune, “[Christie] has long been right about the need for the governor's office … to have more control over the actions of New Jersey's plethora of independent authorities and agencies”:
“HIT: Free hand. Many of Gov. Chris Christie's critics likely cringe at the notion of placing any more power in his hands. But he has long been right about the need for the governor's office — Christie for the moment, but not Christie forever — to have more control over the actions of New Jersey's plethora of independent authorities and agencies that far too often have turned into vast patronage pits burning taxpayer dollars. Christie already has veto power over the actions of dozens of such authorities — and has exercised the power frequently to date — but he wants to extend those veto rights to cover even more authorities. … the more state oversight that can be brought to bear on these authorities, the better.” (“Threats against college aid miss mark on illegal immigrants,” Home News Tribune Editorial, 3/19/2011)

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