ICYMI: The gov's power to appoint

In case you missed it, I took a reprieve from VP/keynote talk on Sunday and looked at the extraordinary, vast powers of the New Jersey governor to make thousands of appointments:

Being governor of New Jersey means you have $30 billion or so to spend each year. It means the Lincoln Tunnel closes when you need to get to New York, a mansion in Princeton is open for parties, and a Shore house at Island Beach State Park is free for your swimming pleasure. 

And then there's this: You get to appoint six people to the Perfusionists Advisory Committee and nine to the Noise Control Council. 

The perfusionists (heart-lung machine operators) and the noise-control people (it's an environmental thing) are not part of Gov. Christie's inner circle, but they represent a vast gubernatorial power.

The state has at least 6,235 appointable seats, some of which are controlled by legislative leaders but many of which are the responsibility of the governor. The appointees are mostly anonymous people attending occasional meetings of mostly anonymous boards, task forces, and authorities. Governors also pick their own staffs, cabinet members, and midlevel officials. They could probably get your son a job at the Department of Transportation, too.

 Some appointments need state Senate approval; others are quick-and-easy patronage picks. Some come with salaries; some with pensions, too.

"It's a way to put your team in place so that the government in New Jersey acts at your direction," says political scientist Ben Dworkin of Rider University.

Like his predecessors, Christie wields this power the way experts say it was meant to be wielded: to reward friends, punish enemies, and reflect priorities. (Unexpected appointments also come up, such as when Christie learned last week that he has to appoint a new Farmingdale Borough Council after all six members resigned.)

 Read the rest of the story, here.