Tags: N.J. | Will | Have | Four | Governors | Eight | Days

N.J. Will Have Four Governors In Eight Days

Monday, 07 January 2002 12:00 AM

The complicated scenario includes Tuesday's departure by the state's acting governor, the splitting up of the gubernatorial duties by the leaders of the state Senate for a week and the eventual swearing-in of the new governor on Jan. 15.

According to the New Jersey state constitution, the outgoing governor passes power to the president of the Senate until the elected governor can be sworn in. However, since there is an even split in the state Senate between Republicans and Democrats, each party's leader will have a turn in the governor's office.

Republican Donald DiFrancesco has been New Jersey's acting governor since Christie Whitman left the post to head up the Environmental Protection Agency in February of 2001.

When DiFrancesco vacates the governor's office Tuesday he will be replaced by Senate GOP leader John Bennett, who will then be governor through Jan. 11 when he hands it off to Senate Democratic leader Richard Codey.

Codey will be in control from Jan. 12 until Jan. 15, at which point Democratic Governor-elect Jim McGreevy will be sworn into office.

So, what kind of power will the temporary governors wield during their brief stints as the state's top politician?

According to the Newark Star-Ledger, Codey called the Legislature's counsel to find out exactly what his powers would be as governor. The answer: "When you're governor, you can do anything you want," Codey told the Star Ledger.

"Provided it's legal," counsel Al Porrini clarified.

There will be some bills to sign into law, some appointments to be made and executive orders to be given, but the issue of pardons or other high profile actions are not expected, the Star-Ledger reports.

Both Bennett and Codey have planned swearing-in ceremonies for Jan. 8, despite the fact that Codey won't take office until Jan. 12. They will be sworn in together and both will give a State of the State speech, one after the other, at the New Jersey War Memorial.

"I'll be the last Republican governor for four years," said Bennett.

Codey has plans for his time in office as well. According to Jim Manion, Codey has planned a breakfast at the state mental hospital on his first day in office, to reinforce his political priorities.

"They actually, according to the constitution, are really governors," Manion said. "But at the same time, they are honoring the incoming governor's request to not spend money that is not in the budget, because we do have a fiscal problem in the state."

Codey will be hosting a reception at the Drumthwacket, or the New Jersey governor's mansion, on Jan. 12, but Codey "will be paying for it himself," Manion said.

He also plans to use the stationary he had printed up, reflecting his temporary office.

"I plan to write as many letters as possible on the stationary to those who have helped me over the years - just to say thanks," Codey said. The title on the stationary will be, "acting governor."

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The complicated scenario includes Tuesday's departure by the state's acting governor, the splitting up of the gubernatorial duties by the leaders of the state Senate for a week and the eventual swearing-in of the new governor on Jan. 15. According to the New Jersey state...
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2002-00-07
Monday, 07 January 2002 12:00 AM
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