Home>Governor>Two Board of Public Utilities nominees confirmed after two-month delay

Gov. Phil Murphy's cabinet secretary, and soon-to-be Board of Public Utilities commissioner, Christine Guhl Sadovy. (Photo: Office of the Governor).

Two Board of Public Utilities nominees confirmed after two-month delay

Three new Superior Court judges headed to bench in South Jersey

By Joey Fox, May 22 2023 2:11 pm

Two controversial nominees to the state Board of Public Utilities (BPU), Marian Abdou and Christine Guhl Sadovy, were confirmed by the State Senate today more than two months after their nominations first came before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Abdou, the managing senior counsel at NRG energy, and Sadovy, Gov. Phil Murphy’s cabinet secretary, were nominated by the governor in March to serve on the BPU, which oversees regulated utilities like gas, electricity, and water. Murphy had chosen not to renominate two incumbent BPU commissioners, Bob Gordon and Dianne Solomon.

At first, Abdou’s and Sadovy’s nominations were fast-tracked; they were put on the Senate Judiciary Committee schedule on March 20, just two weeks after they were nominated.

But their hearing was a rocky one, with senators from both parties voicing concerns about the state’s Energy Master Plan. Some Republican senators also questioned whether Murphy had chosen not to renominate Solomon because of Solomon’s dissension from the Murphy administration on energy policy.

While Abdou and Sadovy both cleared the committee, an attempt to get them through the full Senate later that day was unsuccessful; confirming them on the same day as the Judiciary Committee hearing would have required 30 of the Senate’s 40 members to sign off on an emergency resolution, something that the Republican caucus refused to do.

The vote today, two months later, was much less dramatic, though Republican senators still signaled their disapproval of the nominees. Sadovy was confirmed on a party-line 22-14 vote, while Abdou was confirmed 30-0 with a number of Republican senators simply not voting at all.

Also confirmed by the Senate today were three new Superior Court judges: Tariq Chaudhri, Tosca Blandford Bynoe, and Linda Galella. All three hail from South Jersey, which has been hit especially hard by New Jersey’s judicial vacancy crisis.

With the new judges now heading to the bench, it remains to be seen whether Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner will choose to restart civil and matrimonial trials in the Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem Vicinage after halting them in February due to a lack of judges.

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