Outgoing Governor Chris Christie is reportedly playing games with the office space for workers reporting to Lieutenant Governor and fellow Republican Kim Guadagno, according to state government employees with knowledge of the plans.
Christie may be retaliating against Guadagno, claim these sources, for opposing his proposed $300 million State House renovation (a move that was widely criticized) by now ordering 125-130 Department of State workers, reporting to Guadagno (who is also the Secretary of State), to be moved from their current 225 West State Street offices (next door to the State House) to space several blocks away to make room for Christie’s own State House staff (about the same number of workers) when the renovation starts. Discussions between the office heads allegedly occurred this past Friday, with Christie demanding relocations start by April.
The two sets of moves for Christie’s machinations replace the one move that would have been needed had Christie just moved his staff to temporary space, in order to save money and time and the inconvenience of moving multiple groups of workers, equipment and records.
Christie is term limited and his term expires at the end of 2017. Over the weekend, different insiders alternately claimed and denied that Christie was about to take a job in the Trump White House.
Guadagno has announced her bid for the Republican nomination for Governor to succeed Christie. Despite being his second in command, relations between Guadagno and Christie have reportedly been frosty for a significant period of time. The two have most recently dissected on President Trump, whom Christie endorsed while Guadagno distanced herself from the Republican nominee, and also on Christie’s summer 2016 gas tax.
The chilly relationship evokes memories among political observers of the icy relations between former three-term New York Governor George Pataki and his lieutenant governor, Betsy McCaughey, who most recently was an economic advisor to the Trump campaign. Relations between the two were considered tense at best and McCaughey was considered to be trying to upstage Pataki, going so far as to stand in the State Capitol Rotunda during his January 1996 State of the State address. McCaughey later changed her party affiliation to the Democratic Party while still in office. She was replaced on Pataki’s re-election ticket for the 1998 campaign.