The appointments accord between Gov. Jon Corzine and his successor, Christopher Christie, means that Christie will have the option of naming a new Board of Public Utilities (BPU) Commissioner and making the new person the BPU President – a cabinet level position. Had Corzine succeeded in moving his top energy advisor, Kenneth Esser, to the post during lame duck, Democrats would have secured a 3-2 majority on the board that regulates the natural gas, electricity, water and telecommunications and cable television industries, and would have had to pick between one of the two Republicans on the board — Elizabeth Randall and Nicholas Asselta — for the presidency. Some Republicans still think Randall, a former Assemblywoman and state Banking and Insurance Commissioner, is the favorite, but her elevation to the top post is less likely this week than it was before Corzine and Christie cut a deal.
Frederick Butler, a former Executive Director of the Assembly Democratic office, will remain on holdover status until Christie can nominate a new BPU Commissioner, and until the Democratic-controlled State Senate confirms his pick. The current president, Jeanne Fox, the wife of Corzine strategist Steve DeMicco, keeps her seat on the BPU, but will have to give up her leadership post if Christie tells her to.