Update: Senate Democrats say that Schundler’s confirmation hearing will continue on Monday.
After interviewing acting Education Commissioner Bret Schundler for about an hour and a half, the Senate Judiciary Committee adjourned without voting on whether to send his nomination on for a full senate confirmation vote, putting off the remainder of the hearing for an unspecified future date.
Committee Chairman Nicholas Scutari (D-Linden) said that he had to close the meeting because Senate President Stephen Sweeney (West Deptford) had requested the Democratic senators to caucus at noon.
“I don’t anticipate it’s going to be finished today,” said Scutari.
Before Schundler’s testimony, the committee unanimously approved Lee Solomon as head of the Board of Public Utiliies, sending his nomination on for a vote in the senate.
Republicans on the committee were upset that they were not notified that the committee would be short on time.
State Sen. Joseph Kyrillos (R-Middletown) asked Scutari to “let our side know in advance” if it happens again, since they would have not asked questions if they knew. As an acting commissioner, Kyrillos said, there is “a lot [Schundler] cannot do” or is “hesitant to do.”
State Sen. Nia Gill (D-Montclair) challenged Kyrillos on that point.
“If you’re acting, under the statute, you proceed, I would assume,” she said.
Kyrillos acknowledged that he was not aware of any legal restrictions on what an acting commissioner could do, but said “It is a normal human condition to be mindful of the fact that you are not legally confirmed or installed in a permanent way for your very significant — immensely significant — public job.”