HOPATCONG – Gov. Chris Christie’s answer to three separate questions from the audience in Wednesday’s town hall can be summed up thusly: End it.
A local deputy mayor welcomed Christie to the “top of New Jersey” and asked what the governor’s opinion on public employee civil service protections is.
“Civil service: reform it or abolish it?” the deputy mayor asked.
“Abolish it,” Christie said. “The legislature passed a ridiculous B.S. bill. They sent it to me. I sent it back.”
The original proposal to allow towns to opt out of civil service was a part of his mayor’s toolkit, he said.
“If property taxes go up in August,” he said, “Don’t come see me. Come see (state Senate President) Steve Sweeney and (Assembly Speaker) Sheila Oliver.”
A woman called Christie “sexy” for his opinion on the Highlands Council, which Christie pounced on.
He said of his appointments – some of whom are publicly opposed to the existence of the council – “They’re being blocked by the Democrats in the Senate, and it’s wrong.”
“All I can do about it is keep fighting them on it,” he said.
The Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act, the law that empowers the Highlands Council, is based on a lie, Christie sad.
“An enormous lie by the McGreevey administration,” he said. “They just wanted to come up here and take the land.”
The act calls for reimbursement for land seized by the state to protect the water supply, but Christie said: “Almost 8 years later and there’s no money.”
On COAH, he basically said the legislature pulled a last-minute bait and switch on the governor and the Republican lawmakers.
“The Democrats in the legislature just won’t come forward, especially in the Assembly,” he said, but the governor holds the purse strings.
He “zero(ed)-out the budget for COAH” this year, he said. “It’s going to be hard to do anything if you don’t have any money.”