Sometimes you save the best for last. It’s an old expression, once immortalized in a early-90’s pop song by uber-talent Vanessa Williams. And it appears as though the Senate Judiciary Committee is doing that with Hal Wirths the Sussex County Freeholder who has been nominated as the next Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development. They are expected to consider him if not last among the Christie nominees then pretty close to it. And some are said to be eagerly anticipating the confrontation.
First, a little background…according to his resume’s on both the Gov’s website and the Sussex County Freeholders – Wirths has basically been a full-time Freeholder since 2000. He serves on a number of boards and commissions such as the Rotary club, the Sussex County Chamber of Commerce and the Branchville Businessmen’s Club. But when it comes to actual business experience, critics say the resume is a tad less full.
Wirths apparently owned and operated two Oak Shoppe Furniture stores from 1986 to 2004, which means that he took over when he was roughly 19. Apparently, only one store was in New Jersey.
Some have speculated that the Wirths nomination was Christie’s nod to Republicans up in Sussex. Wally Wirth, Hal’s dad was well-respected in Republican circles…described to me as a “true conservative.” But oddly enough, it’s been folks on the right who have raised objections about the Hal Wirths nomination, specifically that he is under qualified.
Initially it was believed that Wirths would be Ag Secretary, but that supposedly got scuttled when Christie and Steve Sweeney cut a deal to keep Sweeney ally Doug Fisher in the post. That’s when Wirths got moved to Labor.
Anyway, the Dems are expected to try and make some hay here. Wirths has apparently gotten wind of some of the opposition and has placed calls to at least one lawmaker ( twice ) to gather some intel about his fate.
The word is that Wirths is a very “nice guy” but the Labor Department under his stewardship ( he is currently acting commish ) “is already a mess” which can’t help his cause.