Another day, another sign of Election 2017 taking its toll on the business of government under the State House’s golden dome, Save Jerseyans.
The latest: According to Save Jersey sources on State Street, approximately 125 Department of State workers are being relocated by April 1st from their current digs at 225 West State Street office space, a location immediately outside the State House, to a new space at 33 West State Street, the Division of Revenue, several (long) blocks away and a solid 10-minute walk, in order to make room for Governor’s Office staff during imminent four-year-long renovations of the history building.
The leap-frog personnel decision means an upwards of 250-ish people might be moving around over the next month, and presumably incurring office moving costs covered by New Jersey taxpayers, rather than only 125-ish had the Governor’s Office staffers simply moved down West State Street and left the State folks where they are.
The context: Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno doubles as Secretary of State for the Administration.
She also vocally questioned the wisdom of Christie’s $300 million State House renovation project that’s allegedly precipitating the move.
The project remains extremely controversial (rightfully so); the Governor has nevertheless persisted in his assessment that the building is a “fire trap.” Whether the problems with the building could’ve been corrected for less than $300 million hasn’t been explored, especially since similar projects in other states encountered dramatic cost overruns.
We reached out to the Christie press team for comment regarding the move and were referred to this Friday treasury press release (which wasn’t easy to find). The release confirmed the “swing space” locations and the move itself but little else, adding only that the new spot was “convenient to the Legislative State House and Annex buildings.” There wasn’t any elaboration in this particular release regarding logistics or why moving TWO offices is more efficient than just one.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what happened here but, as ever, Save Jerseyans, we respect you enough to let you draw your own conclusions….
For those of you who are new to this story, the office shuffle’s only the latest not-so-subtle anecdotal evidence of deep-seated antagonism between the former running mates who were never close over the past 8 years but were also never openly hostile to one another until Guadagno began asserting her independence ahead of her current 2017 gubernatorial run.
Their gas tax fall-out was only the most publicly-reported episode. Back in January, shortly before she announced her bid for governor, Christie swooped in last minute to “bigfoot” Guadagno and take her speaking slot at the annual League of Municipalities booze fest in Atlantic City. The Governor appeared on NJ 101.5 not long thereafter and questioned whether Guadagno could do his job (despite the fact that she’s been acting governor while he traveled out-of-state for 500+ days without burning anything down).