TRENTON – Gov. Chris Christie announced the resignation of Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Lori Grifa today, bringing in Richard Constable, the deputy commissioner of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, as her replacement.
Grifa is returning to the private sector and her former employer, the prominent law firm of Wolff & Samson, when the transition ends on Jan. 2, 2012.
On comparisons between private practice and public service, she said it is “the difference between what is important and what clients tell you is important.”
She’s manned the front line on reforms of Urban Enterprise Zones and municipal aid, streamlining various forms of aid and stepping up oversight and requirements set upon receiving towns.
She also oversaw the integration of the Council on Affordable Housing – “a monstrously failed program,” Christie said – into the department.
Asked what she would have done in her position if she had the chance again, Grifa replied, “Bought more antacid.”
Constable, a Democrat, was the chief operating officer of the Labor Department, directing over 3,500 employees and managing day-to-day operations.
Christie joked about Constable, a former federal prosecutor hired by Christie, who joins a long line of former U.S. Attorneys to find work in the administration.
“You’d be shocked to know that Rich Constable served with me at the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” Christie said. Constable prosecuted the case of former Guttenberg Mayor David Della Donna.
Asked whether he expects any further turnover in his cabinet – BPU President Lee Solomon also stepped down recently – Christie said possibly “one or two” other moves could be made before the end of the year, the deadline he gave to his top directors. Both Attorney General Paula Dow and Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Tom Consodine have been reportedly preparing to leave the adminstration.