There is an old story about Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia of New York who ( during one of his infamous rants ) grabbed a stenographer by the shoulders and while violently shaking this poor guy said “If you were any stupider, I’d make you a Commissioner.”
The joke of course, is that sometimes under-qualified people get nominated for top cabinet posts in government ( I know…hard to believe, right? ). Well some Democrats feel as though that might be the case with Hal Wirths, the Sussex County Freeholder who was put up by the Christie Administration to serve as Commissioner of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
The Wirths hearing before Senate Judish last month ended without a vote. That was in part because the Administration asked the committee to hold up when it became apparent that Wirths may not have the votes. Senator Loretta Weinberg for example asked why Wirths continued to serve as a Freeholder while accepting the interim post of Acting Commish. In short she cried conflict, and an answer was sought by legal. ( btw – Wirths has agreed to forgo his salary…but appears to be running for re-elec. )
But the primary objection seems to have come from other Dems who feel Wirths is “completely unqualified.” And some say it is not unprecedented to reject a nominee based on the fact that he or she has very little experience in a particular field.
Then of course, like with every good story there is a subtext. There are some Dems who believe Christie played too active a role in “slapping Spicuzzo around” during his lame duck confirmation hearing. Joe Spicuzzo was the Middlesex County Democratic Chairman and Sheriff appointed to Sports and Expo by Governor Corzine. Spicuzzo ( if you remember ) had a bit of a rough time during that hearing over his knowledge of the Meadowlands, and what his future job would be as an NJSEA Commissioner. Christie called Spicuzzo “the most unqualified candidate” one could find.
So, critics of Wirths may see some opportunity for payback here. They are asking: If Spicuzzo is so unqualified ( and many agree that he is ), how can Christie turn around and nominate this guy ( Wirths )?!!? Does someone need to call the hypocrite police?
Janet Rosenzweig for Children and Families is a whole other traffic jam. She was recommitted after some info was circulated about her role in an organization connected to the study of sexuality ( see earlier post ). But she is eager to go before Judiciary and set the record straight, even though critics ( in this case Republicans ) are skeptical.
I predict it will be an exciting and educational month of May when the committee reconvenes.