With 57 days until his second inauguration, Gov. Phil Murphy is facing a number of decisions about how to retain or reshape his cabinet and administration – but he said today that he doesn’t anticipate making one major announcement about what his second term’s team will look like.
“I don’t think there’s going to be one day where we’re going to announce a bunch of changes as it relates to the second term,” Murphy said. “As and when opportunities arise, we’ll make those announcements, and I think they’ll come as they do.”
Only two cabinet positions, attorney general and secretary of state, need to be renominated for State Senate confirmation every term. For those roles, Murphy could renominate Acting Attorney General Andrew Bruck and Secretary of State Tahesha Way, or he could search for a new officeholder in one or both.
All other positions are not subject to Senate confirmation if the incumbent officeholder is retained by the governor. Some current cabinet officials, however, have never been confirmed, and thus would have to face the Senate to keep their roles.
Three cabinet officials – Acting Commissioner of Education Angelica Allen-McMillan, Acting State Comptroller Kevin Walsh, and Acting State Police Superintendent Pat Callahan – have been nominated, but never confirmed. Another two, Acting Commissioner of the Department of Human Services Sarah Adelman and Acting Commissioner of the Department of Corrections Victoria Kuhn, were never formally nominated to begin with.
One further cabinet official whose future is at least somewhat in doubt is Motor Vehicle Commission Administrator Sue Fulton, who was nominated in April to be the Biden Administration’s Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manpower and Reserve Affairs.
If Fulton is confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Murphy would have to find a replacement for her, but her nomination has so far stalled. There’s also no guarantee Murphy would keep Fulton on even if her federal nomination fails, however, and he may choose to look for a replacement elsewhere.