Governor-elect Christopher Christie and outgoing Gov. Jon Corzine have come to a simple agreement when it comes to major appointments and policy decisions in lame duck: if Corzine wants to do something, he'll fill Christie in.
"The understanding that the Governor and I came to was we would be talking to each other about it. There was no agreement that we made that either certain appointments, or any appoints, would or would not go forward," said Christie at a press conference today in the Meadowlands. "He's the governor until January 19. I'm going to certainly weigh in, and he offered me the opportunity to weigh in, and he also offered to share with me any actions he was considering taking."
Christie said that the executive director of the transition office, Jeff Chiesa, reports that the Governor's office has been "very cooperative" and has "given him everything he's asked for."
What Christie and Corzine don't have an agreement on is what happens if Corzine makes an appointment he does not agree with.
"If he does intend to do something and I weigh in saying that I wouldn't like him to do it, then we'll have to see what happens," said Christie. "But hopefully we're going to just be able to work well together. He's going to respect the prerogatives of the people who voted on November 3rd, and I certainly respect his prerogative. It's a four year term. It's not a three year, 10 month term."
At one point, after Christie answered several questions about the state's fiscal status, a reporter asked if appointing to his transition team Woodbridge Mayor John McCormac – who was State Treasurer under former Govs. Jim McGreevey and Richard Codey – sent mixed messages.
But Christie said it was unfair to peg McCormac with the sins of his boss.
"John McCormac wasn't the governor. John McCormac didn't make those decisions. Jim McGreevey made those decisions. Jim McGreevey single-handedly put this state in the fiscal mess that it's in," said Christie. "The decision he made over the course of three years are mindboggling… I'm not laying that at the feet of John McCormac… . Given my experience with John McCormac, I think he's a very reasonable, fair, prudent guy."
Christie held the press conference outside, with the newly built football stadium in the background. He toured the new stadium and met with Jets owner Woody Johnson before touring the troubled and aesthetically controversial Xanadu project – which still sits empty – with Sports and Exposition Authority Chairman Carl Goldberg and state Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge). Christie also met with staff from Xanadu's developer, Colony Capital.
"It's much nicer inside than it is outside, although that's a low bar," he said. They've exceeded that low bar of how bad it looks from the outside by making it look better inside," he said.
Christie called the tour "purely fact finding" and made no policy pronouncements except to reiterate his opposition to allowing video lottery terminals (VLTs) in the Meadowlands.