Senate President Richard Codey (D-Roseland) told the Star-Ledger today that he will block the nomination of Philip Alagia to the Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey Board of Directors. Alagia, a prominent Democratic political operative and the Chief of Staff to Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, had been nominated to the post by Gov. Jon Corzine. Alagia is a protégé of Newark political leader Stephen Adubato, Sr., a longtime rival of Codey who helped Stephen Sweeney win the Senate Presidency.
By exercising senatorial courtesy against Alagia, Codey did a favor for another foe, State Sen. Kevin O'Toole (R-Cedar Grove). O'Toole is close to Adubato, but was under pressure from other GOP Senators to block all of Corzine's lame duck nominations.
Codey told the newspaper that he will oppose appointments to individuals who already have a government job, and noted that he was also blocking Newark City Councilman Ronald C. Rice's appointment to the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission; Rice is the son of Codey's closest ally in the Senate, Ronald Rice (D-Newark). That creates at least one interesting question: will he back Assemblyman John McKeon for re-election as Mayor of West Orange in 2010?
Codey is also blocking the renomination of Catherine Willis to the Essex County Board of Taxation. Willis is a close ally of East Orange Mayor Robert Bowser, who in Essex County politics is allied with Codey.