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Somerset County Freeholder Sara Sooy

Somerset Dems reject GOP lame duck appointments

Democrats will take control of freeholder board in January

By David Wildstein, December 18 2019 3:37 pm

Somerset County Democrats, preparing to take control of the Board of Freeholders for the first time since 1965, are complaining that the lame duck Republican majority are jamming through last-minute appointments on their way out.

They are complaining  that  the reappointment of  longtime Republican insider Tim Howes to the Raritan Valley Community College Board of Trustees was a last minute add-on to the agenda for yesterday’s freeholder meeting.

“We made a motion to table the nomination until at least a resume was available for the members to review, but the GOP voted in lockstep to force the unscheduled vote today,” said Democratic freeholder Sara Sooy. “Even though Freeholder Director Brian Levine said he agreed that more information was needed, he sided with his party over the students at Raritan Valley Community College.”

Levine will be one of two remaining Republicans on the five-member freeholder board next year when he faces re-election.

There had been speculation that Levine might switch parties and run as a Democrat, but he rejected those rumors this week and told the New Jersey Globe that he hoped to run again as a Republican.

“Democrats ran on a campaign of openness, transparency and solid vetting of appointments to ensure Somerset County has the best possible staff and volunteers for our residents,” said Freeholder Shanel Robinson. “The voters agreed with us that the old ways aren’t working.”

Lame duck appointments are a constant in New Jersey politics.

After winning the 2009 gubernatorial election, Chris Christie railed against the vanquished governor, Jon Corzine, for making appointments in the weeks before he left office.

Eight years later, Christie did exactly the same thing prior to Democrat Phil Murphy becoming governor.

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