Governor Rattling Saber on Tenure Legislation
Governor Chris Christie indicated he will support tenure reform legislation approved earlier this week, A-3060 (Diegnan) / S-1455 (Ruiz). But, he will continue his fight to end seniority.
Governor's Statements on the Bill
The Governor was asked at a town hall meeting June 26 in Brick Township whether he would support the bill passed by both the Senate and the Assembly this week if it retained teachers’ seniority rights (Tenure Legislation Approved June 25, June 25, 2012). Christie has continually called for the elimination of seniority, although recent statements by the Governor appeared to be supportive of the legislation approved on Monday (Governor Outlines Evaluation, Tenure & Seniority Reforms April 7, April 8, 2012).
In his first public comments since the Legislature’s vote, Christie said he had yet to make a final decision on the bill, and an administration official said it was unlikely he’d announce his decision this week, let alone hold a bill-signing event. But he did say he could have it both ways - sign the bill, while taking up the seniority separately in the future.
“The question is whether there are enough good things in there to sign it, and I have to make that decision,” he said.
“But either way, whether I sign or veto, I will not give up the fight to change that rule,” he said. “It just doesn’t take into account what we should all be thinking comes first: we want the best, we want the best for our kids.”
“A lot of these decisions should be based on merit,” Christie said to the questioner. “If you are working hard and doing your job really well, you stay. If you are not quite as good, you should go. That’s the way it works in every other profession.”
Likelihood of Passage Still Good
Most Statehouse observers, in and out of the Legislature, expect that Christie will ultimately sign the bill. The fact that every Republican Senator and Assembly member voted for the measure, giving it a unanimous approval, only further assured the party’s standard bearer would go along.
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