NJ Politics Digest: State Paying Christie Ally $400 Per Hour To Control A.C. Spending

It’s the end of the week, and eyebrows were raised in Atlantic City when the state finally disclosed that it is paying the politically connected appointee charged with controlling Atlantic City’s spending $400 per hour.
In Trenton, legislators have advanced a bill that will allow Gov. Chris Christie to benefit from a book deal in return for him approving raises for some political appointees. The deal between governor and legislature also removes the requirement that towns publish legal notices in local newspapers – a measure publishers say will cost jobs and reduce oversight of public officials. Officials, meanwhile, say they aren’t concerned about public outrage over a measure that ties Christie’s private gain to public policy and spending.
Christie also signed a bill requiring the state to make quarterly pension payments – he’s previously vetoed similar efforts over pension payments – and the legislature has also acted on a bill that would add new judges to help reduce the number of people jailed because they can’t make bail.

Quote of the Day: “There is palpable anger. I did not have one call in two days supporting this deal. Gov. Christie is willing to trade public money that is financed by working- and middle-class families’ taxes in exchange for him to go out and make millions on a book. That doesn’t wash,” – Talk radio host Bill Spadea on the legislative deal to allow Chris Christie to benefit from writing a book.

Atlantic City’s state overseer will bill taxpayers at $400 per hour
After a month of secrecy, the salary of the New Jersey overseer of Atlantic City, Jeffrey Chiesa, was revealed Thursday. He will bill taxpayers at a rate of $400 per hour, according to a retention agreement with the state Attorney General.
Amy S. Rosenberg, Inquirer Read more

Here’s how much Jeffrey Chiesa is being paid per hour to fix Atlantic City
More than a month after he began work, the state released a retention agreement with Jeffrey Chiesa, the man overseeing the Atlantic City takeover.
Christian Hetrick, Press of Atlantic City Read more

Christie moves closer to being allowed a book deal
State lawmakers on Thursday began advancing a controversial bill that would loosen a state ethics law to permit Gov. Chris Christie to profit from a book deal while in office and also allow for millions of dollars in raises for hundreds of government staff members.
Brent Johnson, NJ.com Read more

Committees advance Christie book deal, newspaper bills
Lawmakers on Thursday clashed on the merits of two proposals moving quickly through the Legislature — one to loosen state ethics laws to allow Governor Christie to profit off a book while also giving raises to select staff and judges and another to drop the requirement for towns and developers to advertise legal notices in newspapers.
Dustin Racioppi and Nicholas Pugliese, The Record Read more

Christie, legislators in the room where it happens
There’s a question I keep asking about the deal between Chris Christie and Democratic legislative leaders that would allow Christie to profit from a book deal while governor, raise the salaries of legislative aides and others, and kill the media: Why?
Alfred P. Doblin, The Record Read more

With latest lie, Christie declares war on newspapers
At the core of Gov. Chris Christie’s campaign to kill newspapers jobs is the claim that his bill will save money. He puts the number at $80 million.
Tom Moran, Star-Ledger Read more

Christie’s newspaper ‘revenge bill’ moves forward
A bill some lawmakers and newspaper advocates have described as Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s “revenge bill” against the industry he’s had a rocky relationship with cleared its first hurdle Thursday with the support of Democratic lawmakers.
Matt Arco, NJ.com Read more

Could Trenton political machinations hurt community newspapers such as Collingswood’s weekly Retrospect?
Brett Ainsworth is on deadline.
As owner, publisher and editor of The Retrospect, a weekly newspaper that’s been covering Collingswood and nearby communities since 1902, he’s got another edition to put out.
Kevin Riordan, Inquirer Read more

Opponents of Christie book-deal bill warn senators of backlash
Democratic leaders of the state Senate on Thursday said they were not concerned about the political consequences of a bill that would allow Gov. Chris Christie to profit from a book deal in exchange for giving raises to their staff and hundreds of public officials.
Matt Friedman, Politico Read more

New Jersey leads nation in foreclosures
New Jersey leads the nation in foreclosure activity, as the state continues to unwind the mortgages that went bad in the worst housing crash in decades.
Kathleen Lynn, The Record Read more

Christie signs bill requiring N.J. to make quarterly pension payments
Gov. Chris Christie on Thursday signed a bill that will require the state to make quarterly payments to New Jersey’s ailing public worker pension system.
Matt Arco, NJ.com Read more

Lawmakers advance bill to help clear N.J. jails of those who can’t pay bail
A bipartisan bill that would add 20 new judges to New Jersey’s courts to help reduce the number of people in jail only because they can’t afford to post bail cleared the budget committees in the Senate and Assembly on Thursday.
Claude Brodesser-Akner, NJ.com Read more

Cory Booker to join key panel on international affairs, expanding resume
Sen. Cory A. Booker, widely seen as a rising Democratic star and potential future presidential candidate, will gain a foothold on the international stage in January, when he joins the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Jonathan Tamari, Inquirer Read more

Why did the Air Force decide not to give N.J. new fighter jets?
The Air Force decision not to base its latest jet in New Jersey came under fire Wednesday by the state’s congressional delegation, which had been pushing the Pentagon to send the F-35 to the Air National Guard’s 177th Fighter Wing.
Ted Sherman, NJ.com Read more

After losing House seat, Garrett meets Trump officials
Defeated last month in his bid for another term in the House, Rep. Scott Garrett met with President-elect Donald J. Trump’s transition team for about an hour on Thursday, according to the press pool stationed in the building’s lobby.
Herb Jackson, The Record Read more

NJ unemployment rate drops as state adds 3,900 jobs
New Jersey employers created 3,900 jobs in November, as the state’s unemployment rate dropped from 5.3 percent, to 5 percent, state labor officials said on Thursday.
Kathleen Lynn, The Record Read more

NJ ‘Dreamers’ face uncertainty as Trump vows to end lifeline
One day, Daysi Arevalo says she will deliver and care for newborns in a maternity ward as a nurse. Periodically, the 20-year-old will travel to El Salvador, where she was born, to provide medical services. Brenda Codallos, 19, wants to treat children with cancer.
Karen Yi, The Record Read more

Margate firefighter who shoplifted $7.98 from Wawa loses two jobs
Ashton Funk was once the king of the beach, a perennial rowing champ for Margate in the summer Lifeguard races, and a firefighter with the Margate City Fire Department.
Amy S. Rosenberg, Inquirer Read more

Burlington County to be reimbursed for mail-in ballot misprint costs
Burlington County will be reimbursed nearly $30,000 after it had to pay its employees overtime and hire additional workers to hand-count about 20,900 faulty paper mail-in ballots last month.
Jan Hefler, Inquirer Read more

NJ Politics Digest: State Paying Christie Ally $400 Per Hour To Control A.C. Spending