Morris County GOP Chairman John Sette says that he supports Republicans’ efforts to block Gov. Jon Corzine’s last minute nominees through senatorial courtesy – even in the case of his own re-nomination to the police training commission.
“As far as I’m concerned, it’s being held up,” said Sette, who has served on the commission for 13 years. “Chris [Christie] has asked our senators not to sign off on anybody, and that includes me. That’s the Governor-elect’s wishes, and I respect him…. I haven’t talked to Chris about it. But I heard him talk about the principle of it… that these people are going to be shaping policy. I can understand his position.”
Senatorial courtesy is an unwritten rule that allows senators to block nominees who live in their home counties.
Christie earlier this week denied that he threatened to make use of the practice, and state Sen. Joseph Pennacchio (R-Montville) – one of Morris County’s two senators — said that his decision to wait on signing off on Morris County nominations is his own—not Christie’s.
“I’m going to let the holidays shake out,” said Pennacchio, who will also decide whether to sign off on Sports and Exposition Authority Chairman Carl Goldberg’s re-nomination – an unlikely prospect, given Goldberg’s Democratic bona fides and Christie’s statements about the state of the agency – and the re-nomination of Barry Mandelbaum to the board of Horizon Blue Cross and Blue Shield.
“I’m going to do my own homework on stuff like this and find out myself whether we should go forward with these nominations,” he said. “It’s going to take a little bit of time. If time runs out, it’s not my fault.”
Sette’s nomination is not controversial. Police training commissioners meet once every 60 days. The position is unpaid and does not include any perks, aside from a mileage reimbursement that Sette said he does not take.
But given the showdown between the outgoing and incoming gubernatorial administrations, even the nomination of the GOP chair to a minor position does not get a pass from the county’s senators.
Sette said he expects to be reappointed sometime after Christie takes office on January 19.
“Chris is our leader, and we have to respect his wishes. What he wants to do is for the good of everybody in the state, and people have to realize that. He’s not doing this for personal gain, just like me being a volunteer on the Police Training Commission—there’s no personal gain,” he said. “I’m sure eventually I’ll get reappointed… I don’t think there’s anybody lining up to take my position. And believe me, it does require a lot of time.”