TRENTON – While the Statehouse was quiet for much of the week, the Bergen County area felt some political tremors following last Friday’s congressional reapportionment vote.
Longtime Democratic Congressman Steve Rothman’s home town of Fair Lawn was shifted into a reconfigured 5th District.
But rather than bow out gracefully or take on incumbent Republican Scott Garrett, he decided to make a run for the new 8th Congressional District seat, currently held by fellow Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell.
According to sources, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee even offered to kick in from $1 million to $2 million if Rothman agreed to challenge Garrett, but Rothman set his sights on a district already in Democratic hands.
That decision to create a primary battle does not sit well in some Democratic quarters.
It was an eerily quiet week in the Statehouse, with legislators and Gov. Chris Christie still on their Christmas break, and Christie heading to Iowa at the end of the week to stump for Mitt Romney.
But since public executives never truly have a day off – or as President George W. Bush liked to call it, a “working vacation” – Christie still hit the air waves, touting his usual reforms – providing more options for education and putting an end to the practice where public workers can cash in their unused sick days for the so-called “boat checks.”
In press releases and radio interviews, Christie hammered at the lame-duck Legislature for not moving on the sick leave payout issue.
But whereas the Dems have been offering a compromise to cap payouts, Christie has been adamant that they be eliminated, with the rallying cry “Zero means zero.’’
He targeted Sen. Paul Sarlo in particular, because he has championed a compromise that would cap sick leave payouts at $7,500. But Christie maintains that with many private-sector workers receiving no pay if they call out sick, there is no justifiable reason to reward public-sector workers with handsome cash-outs for unused sick days.