Gov. Christie's decision to surround himself with former federal prosecutors on his team in Trenton is making an impression in the state with a well-deserved reputation for corruption.
Christie, the former U.S. Attorney in New Jersey, has stocked the executive branch with crime-fighting colleagues. Charles McKenna , who led the criminal division at the federal prosecutor’s office, is the state's new director of homeland security. Attorney General Paula Dow, Christie chief counsel Jeffrey Chiesa, deputy chief counsel Kevin O'Dowd and Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno all worked in the U.S. Attorney's office.
Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney (D., Gloucester), in an interview with The Inquirer editorial board, said their presence can influence conversations in Trenton.
"They're all prosecutors," Sweeney said with a smile. "You don't want to say anything even harmlessly. I didn't get into this (job) to go to jail."
Sweeney said he believes Christie is making a mistake similar to former Gov. Jon S. Corzine, who brought former Wall Street colleagues into key positions in state government. He said too many people from Corzine's inner circle lacked government experience.
"Christie is putting prosecutors everywhere," Sweeney said. "They don't know government."