|Posted by Occh on March 25, 2011 at 6:20 PM|
Rather than doing the job he was elected to do, reduce the size ofstate government, Chris Christie has instead spent his timeinvestigating regional agencies that he said are heavens for politicians to hand out patronage jobs to family and associates. Two of these regional agencies are the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission and the Passaic Valley Water Commission. Now it is true that both ofthese entities were used by the appointed commissioners to give high paying jobs to their cronies and family members, but what the Governor wants now is nothing less than the power one would expect of adictator. He wants the power to veto the minutes of all regiona lauthorities and agencies in the state.Currently Governor Christie can only veto the minutes of an interstate authority like the Port of Authority of New York and NewJersey and the Delaware River Port Authority. This is a privilege that is enjoyed by the governors of the states that these authorities serve. With this arrangement, the theory is that each governor will police the actions of the other. In this manner, the authorities cannot be used as rewards for political patronage. But, itd oes not quite work that way.
I have told you before about the cup cake job former state senator Bill Baroni got. Governor Christie appointed him to the Port of Authority of New York and New Jersey as the Deputy Director at a salary of $291,252.
Another appointment by the Governor to the Port of Authority of NewYork and New Jersey goes to show just how he can reward those who “playball” with him. In the past month, David Samson was named as Chairman of the Port of Authority. Although I could not find his salary, common sense would place it greater than a subordinate like Baroni. Now Samson, a former Attorney General of New Jersey was also chairman of Christie’s transition team and many of the members of his law firm found positions in the Governor’s administration. But, the topping on the cake is that the law firm that David Samson is a partner in, Wolif Samson, has been appointed general counsel of the Turnpike Authority.
It sure looks like the Governor has no problem using positions on interstate authorities to reward those who help him, but since there are only a few of these interstate agencies, it could present a problem for him. He might not have enough of these gravy train jobs to go around. If this is the case, his request to take over control of intrastate authorities might be the answer to that problem. This is why his request to be able to have the ultimate control over regional agencies must be denied him. It would concentrate too much power in the Governor’s hands that might well become his own employment agency for political hacks. Instead, another system has to be put into place to prevent this situation from becoming the new norm. The following is one that should be considered.
All the mayors of the towns, municipalities and cites that are members of the regional authority will form a “Board of Directors” for said authority. They will then hire, via a super majority of two-thirds a Director of Operations for the authority. The “Board of Directors” will approve by the same vote all hiring by the Director o fOperations along with the salaries being offered for those positions. In this manner, if an attempt was made to get political hacks into positions within the authority, it would require a fairly complicated conspiracy amongst a group of politicians who will most likely represent a broad spectrum of political view points. But, one other level of administration can be introduced to serve as a final check on preventing an authority becoming a haven for nepotism.
The meeting minutes of the mayors “Board of Director” meetings will be submitted to a board that is made up of the County Executives that the authority is located in. They would be required to approve the meeting minutes by a unanimous vote for the minutes to be accepted and the directives of those minutes to be implemented. If they are not accepted, the minutes will be delivered back to the “Board o fDirectors” with the changes that the Executives believe have to be made to gain their approval. The mayors can then decide to make those changes, or via a unanimous vote by the “Board of Directors” of mayors to accept the minutes themselves. In this manner the mayors will serve as a check to the County Executives, just as the County Executives serve as a check to the mayors. The process would have to be totally transparent to the public and the media. It is system that would work and still allow local control of the authority.
To place total control of any governmental agency or authority in the hands of one person is the recipe for corruption. It must not beallowed to exist. Governor Christie must not be allowed to have this power.
“All power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”, Lord Acton