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Weekly Political Roundtable

12-16-11

In this week’s Political Roundtable, NJToday’s Mike Schneider sat down with Democratic Strategist Julie Roginsky and Republican Strategist Roger Bodman to discuss Race to the Top, senatorial courtesy and sick time payouts.

With regard to the announcement that New Jersey once again lost out on federal monies for education, Bodman does not think the loss will hurt Governor Christie. Unlike the previous bid a year and a half ago, says Bodman, the loss was not due to an application error. It was an error that led to the resignation of then Education Commissioner Bret Schundler.

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As for the back-and-forth sniping between the Governor and the state’s democrats, Richard Cody and Ron Rice in particular, Roginsky says that it’s a shame that Christopher Hartwyck got caught in the line of fire as a result of what she calls “retaliation” by the Governor. It was announced earlier this week that Attorney General Paula Dow would be replacing Hartwyck as deputy counsel at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Hartwyck is also a cousin of Codey.

Bodman also decried the use of senatorial courtesy, which he says, is simply unfair. For example, he says Acting Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf, who “has been dangling, swinging in the wind for a year,” deserves a confirmation hearing.

While Roginsky agrees that senatorial courtesy is “insidious and shouldn’t exist,” shes says the attack on courtesy should be against both sides, citing the exercise of courtesy by Republicans.

During this legislative lame duck session, Bodman hopes that the issue of payouts to public employee for unused sick time is resolved. But without sick pay, Roginsky raises the concern that workers will use up all their sick time which could affect government operations.