Says Transfer of Power to LG Should Include Notification Requirement
TRENTON – In response to reports that Governor Christie left the State for an out-of-State political fundraiser without ever alerting anyone that he’d transferred power to Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, State Senator Loretta Weinberg said today that she will introduce legislation on Monday requiring notification of legislative leaders whenever the Governor leaves the State moving forward.
“No man is an island, and the Governor needs to recognize that he has a responsibility to the people of New Jersey to at least assure for the orderly transfer of power if he does decide to leave the State in search of right-wing campaign donations,” said Senator Weinberg, D-Bergen. “If an emergency situation had occurred while he was away, the members of the Legislature would have had to scramble to figure out who they’re supposed to be working with in the front office. There’s more to continuity of services than just following the established line of succession.”
Senator Weinberg said that Governor Christie’s rationale, that he should be allowed a “zone of privacy” for out-of-state travel in order to enjoy down-time with his family, fails to adequately answer the need to know when the State’s chief-executive office is occupied by anyone other than the current Governor.
“Firstly, we know that this was not a family vacation to Disney World, but a political fundraiser designed to further the Governor’s national political aspirations,” said Senator Weinberg. “Secondly, Governors and other elected officials should realize that public service comes at the cost of some measure of privacy – he’s got to be Governor 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, not just when it suits him. And finally, a simple notification that he will be out-of-state isn’t too much of a breach in his privacy, considering that his leaving affects every aspect of State government and necessitates a successor for the time that he’s gone. He shouldn’t be able to hand over the keys to the kingdom without at the very least giving the Legislature a heads up.”
Senator Weinberg said that notifying legislative leaders seemed to be a reasonable compromise between security concerns of publicizing every aspect of the Governor’s schedule, the Governor’s own right to a small measure of privacy, and the public’s right to know about the actions of their elected officials.
“I would hope that such notification already happens in the executive branch, so that each of the departments is kept up to speed about who’s running State government,” said Senator Weinberg. “This may seem like legislating common sense, but after it was revealed that common sense wasn’t used, this is what we’re left with. Hopefully, the Governor understands the need for notification – not just in terms of this Governor and this Legislature, but for all future elected leaders – and supports our effort to maintain continuity of services from New Jersey state government.”
The bill will be formally introduced on Monday.