TRENTON – Gov. Chris Christie and the Republican legislators were successful in coaxing a second Senate Judiciary Hearing N.J. Turnpike Authority nominee Ronald Gravino.
The committee spent their morning holding Gravino’s feet to the flames over his position as treasurer of shadow PAC Reform Jersey Now.
This afternoon, the committee gave him another once-over before yielding to Christie’s nomination, with GOP stalwarts state Sens. Joe Kyrillos (R-Middeltown) and Kevin O’Toole (R-Cedar Grove) casting ayes and Minority Leader Tom Kean (R-Westfield) watching the proceedings from the sideline.
State Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck) asked Gravino to convey her wishes to see a list of expenditures from RJN, to which he agreed.
She also asked if his consulting firm – which listed political consulting on the website – was still active, and he said it was.
State Sens. Ray Lesniak (D-Elizabeth), Nia Gill (D-Montclair), John Girgenti (D-Hawthorne), and Weinberg voted against the appointment. State Sens. Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge) and Nick Scutari (D-Linden) abstained.
Gravino got his Democratic votes from state Sens. Brian Stack (D-Union City) and Bob Smith (D-Piscataway).
Smith said he was given a good report on Gravino from his mayor, but still was critical of the partisan organization he was part of. Possibly, he said, Gravino was nothing more than a “partisan bean-counter.”
Gill voted against Gravino, “Not (for) the fact that (RJN is) partisan, but the fact that they do business with the authority on which you’re recommended.”