NEWARK – The interim head of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey said today that the governor may use an executive order to accomplish his proposed higher-education reorganization by July 1.
The statement led some lawmakers to question whether this was a done deal.
UMDNJ interim President Denise Rodgers said the goal is to transfer the three schools in central New Jersey that are under the auspices of UMDNJ to Rutgers University by July 1.
Rodgers said it is her understanding that Gov. Chris Christie intends to use an executive order to make this happen.
The schools that would fall under the Rutgers umbrella include the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, the School of Public Health and the Cancer Institute.
While this is exactly what the proposal calls for, the packed house gathered here for the joint Higher Education Committee hearing appeared shocked, with Assemblyman Charles Mainor, (D-31), Jersey City, even saying it appeared to be a done deal.
In an interview, Sen. Paul Sarlo, (D-36), Wood-Ridge said that he was amazed at the president’s admission.
“For the UMDNJ president to credibly say this will be done by July, I don’t see how this could be feasible,” he said. “Either they’ve been working on this for the last year or they are not being upfront.”
Rogers estimated that some 3,000 employees would be transferred over to Rutgers’ auspices as well.
When asked about the executive order, Christie’s spokesman Michael Drewniak would only say work remains on the proposal.
“There remains a lot to do in terms of a reorganization like this, and we will continue to work with the institutions involved and with the Legislature to move the plan forward.