Christie tries to clean up political sewage

The Christie administration blames a 'decimated' state office for charter schools for its loss of federal charter school funds.

Gov. Christie's emissary has fired 71 employees of an embattled government authority in North Jersey called the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission. This comes two weeks after Christie canned six “self-indulgent and self-interested” PVSC commissioners who were allegedly handing out jobs to friends and family. Three top managers have also been arrested.

Christie has made rooting out money-wasting corruption at the state’s cornucopia of authorities, agencies and commissions a central part of his politics and persona. But here in South Jersey, we haven’t yet seen the kind of blood bath. So those looking for Christie to make similar moves with South Jersey’s own embattled agency, the Delaware River Port Authority, will have to wait awhile.

Simply put, Christie covets – but doesn’t have – that kind of control over the DRPA.

Although Christie ordered that DRPA workers stop getting free rides on the bridges into Philadelphia, an arbitrator has ruled that they are contractually entitled to those rides and will continue to get them. The gov also can’t get rid of New Jersey’s eight commissioners on the bi-state agency’s board, because they were all appointed to five-year terms by former Gov. Corzine.

“The only way I get a chance to appoint anybody to the DRPA is if I get a second term,” Christie said today.

“I can guarantee you this,” he continued, “(Pennslvania) Gov. Corbett and I are not going to be permitting those types of contracts to be given out again.”

The one thing Christie can do now? Veto meeting minutes, which Christie has done four times in his 13 months in office – including once last week, after he said the DRPA defied his ban on hiring lobbyists and went ahead and hired a lobbyist.

Corzine never vetoed minutes, ever, from the DRPA.