Senate President Steve Sweeney is prepared to back Gov. Phil Murphy’s nomination of Paul Juliano to the Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield Board of Directors, but he wants the ouster of John Ballantyne to be part of the deal.
Sources close to Sweeney told the New Jersey Globe that the Senate President has no problem advancing Juliano for the post, and is willing to see Republican Michele Brown lose her job, but he wants Ballantyne gone too.
Ballantyne had been a top official of the northeast Regional Council of Carpenters and a supporter of Murphy’ 2017 gubernatorial campaign.
The Carpenters dissolved the local council to get rid of Ballantyne, who filed a whistleblower lawsuit.
Murphy named Ballantyne to chair the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority.
Sweeney, a close political ally of Carpenters Union leader Frank Spencer, is seeking to link Ballantyne’s ouster with Juliano’s nomination.
Seven Democratic state senators have come in out in support of Juliano’s nomination.
Brown was a close politically ally of former Gov. Chris Christie, who nominated her for the Horizon job in 2017.
She is now the executive director of the Christie Institute for Public Policy, which allows the former governor to continue his pitch for civility in American politics.