Let's hear a big round of applause for State Senator Ron Rice:
Sen. Ron Rice vows to block Christopher Cerf's confirmation as next N.J. education chief
Star Ledger 3/11/11
Trenton — State Sen. Ron Rice is no longer a potential problem on Chris Cerf’s road to becoming New Jersey’s next education commissioner.
He’s now an outright road block.
Rice (D-Essex) said he will invoke one of the Legislature’s oldest and most effective prerogatives by exercising senatorial courtesy, a maneuver that allows senators to block gubernatorial nominees who reside in their home districts or counties without giving reason for their disapproval.
Rice fired a warning last week when he said he would use the privilege against Cerf unless Cerf agreed to appear before the Joint Committee on the Public Schools, a legislative panel that Rice chairs and includes state senators and assemblymen.
Rice said then that Cerf, whom Gov. Chris Christie named acting education commissioner in December, misled him about his relationship with Newark Mayor Cory Booker. The mayor has said Cerf served as an informal adviser to him.
According to Rice, Cerf said he did not know Booker when obviously he does. Rice is concerned Cerf has already advised Booker on several controversial issues such as vouchers and charter schools.
Rice now says he is invoking his senatorial privilege no matter what Cerf does.
"Acting Commissioner Cerf prevaricates. He doesn’t tell all truths," Rice said. "He may be here now, but he can’t stay forever, and he will not be permanent at this point. The governor will have to find someone else." . . .