TRENTON – Facing claims of hypocrisy for his Cabinet secretary’s pension-and-payroll status, Gov. Chris Christie today defended his man, switched gears, and leaned into state Sen. Loretta Weinberg, (D-37), of Teaneck, on what he called the hypocrisy of her complaints about Christie’s pension stances while herself collecting and cashing.
“She’s in that Sunday story on (Essex County Executive) Joe (DiVincenzo) in the Ledger just beating the (stuffing) out of me…She’s pining about how awful this (double standard) is…when she’s the queen of the double standard.”
Christie half-called out the Star Ledger reporter who authored the piece for not, after the fact, pointing out the hypocrisy: “This is the kind of stuff – and this is my unsolicited advice to the press corps – this is the stuff that (people hate). Call hypocrisy what it is, for everybody.”
He took a shot at Weinberg, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, saying this was further evidence why Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno “kicked her around” in campaign debates.
He responded to the PolitickerNJ story about Cabinet Secretary Lou Goetting collecting a state pension from 2003 – before he was hired back by Christie for a $130,000 salary.
“Let’s not conflate the Joe D situation with that situation,” he said, because DiVincenzo is still working in the job he retired from. “That’s not the situation with Lou Goetting,” Christie said, since Goetting retired from the Christine Whitman administration.
“This guy entered public life in the Cahill administration,” Christie joked on the elder consigliore, “one of the single most indispensable members of my administration.”
“The people of New Jersey have gotten an incredible bargain,” he said, given the years of experience Goetting, a former deputy and assistant state treasurer, has in state government.
Asked if he would support GOP-sponsored legislation that would suspend pension benefits for any employee like Goetting who re-enters public service making more than $15,000 annually, Christie said no.
“It would take a lot of good people out of the system,” he said, such as former firefighters, teachers, and other government types, like Goetting.
“That’s much different from what I proposed,” he said, and – again – different from the DiVincenzo and Weinberg situations: “That’s just gamesmanship…done by the Legislature to the benefit of the Legislature.”