A four-hourimpasse over public employee benefits reform legislationMonday night in the General Assembly lefta number of top Assembly Democrats fumingafter several Hudson Democratsheld out their votes on the measure causing the delay.The boycott –apparently orchestrated by State Senator Nicholas Sacco, who holds three public jobs in addition to his wife’s employment with theHudson County School of Technology, forced Democrats to rely on Republicans to pass the measure, a common occurrencein the Senate but a rarity in the lower House which infuriated veteran Democrats.
Assembly Republicans ended the impasse after Jon Corzine’sChief of Staff Bradley Abelow appeared Monday night inthe Minority caucus and pledged that the Governor will imposetight restrictionsfor re-hiring under the State’s early retirement program.Most observers give Republicans credit for gaining relevance in the process thisJune even though Abelow is expected to leave his post within a week. “They should havealso received a commitment from Gary Rose while they were at it,” quipped one insider.
But the fallout in the Assembly Democratic Caucus from the boycottcould comesoon according to State Housesources. Sacco’s running mate Joan Quigley, the Majority Conference Leader, is expectedto receive a challenge to that post when the Legislature returns in September. Potential challengers include Deputy Conference Leader Joan Voss from Bergen County, Pat Diegnan from Middlesex County, and Essex freshman Assemblywoman Grace Spencer. Sacco’s other running mate, VincentPrieto,will not lose his chairmanshipof the Assembly Regulated Professions Committee, although the bills from his committee have been re-assigned.