The most recent redistricting ramp-up meeting for the Democratic team was one member short, and without a key insider.
The Democrats’ redistricting team is comprised of party chairman and Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Sayreville), state Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge), Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-East Orange), Assemblyman Joe Cryan (D-Union), and former Assemblywoman Nilsa Cruz- Perez.
The team also had an add-on position created for Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo which made his chief of staff, Phil Alagia, the chief of staff for the redistricting committee.
In late October, DiVincenzo pulled the rug out on the Dems arbitration reform bill – backed by Oliver, one of his own – because it didn’t have the two percent hard cap on salary arbitration that Gov. Chris Christie wanted.
That left South Jersey, state Sen. President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford), and the rest of Team Norcross none too pleased.
So when the informal, yet important “unofficial” redistricting meeting came along soon after the arbitration debacle, South Jersey flexed its muscles on Essex.
Oliver was the only member absent at the meeting, and Democratic sources confirmed
Alagia was asked not to attend.
Alagia didn’t confirm the snub, but said he’s willing to serve the commission however he can once official meetings begin.
Whether he’s asked to remains to be seen.