At the request of Gov. Jon Corzine, former Red Bank Mayor and state Supreme Court Justice Daniel O’Hern Sr. is looking into labor-contract negotiations between Corzine and his former girlfriend, labor leader Carla Katz, according to today’s Star-Ledger.
A resident of Little Silver, O’Hern is one of two members of the governor’s Ethics Advisory Panel, established under a 2003 executive order that laid out a gubernatorial code of conduct. The other member is former New Jersey Attorney General John J. Farmer, Jr.
O’Hern told the newspaper that the review had begun, but declined to discuss details. “We’ve taken this under advisement,” he told the Ledger. “I do expect we will have something to report fairly soon.”
Corzine’s chief counsel, Kenneth Zimmerman, asked for the review in a letter dated Monday and made public yesterday, the Ledger reported. Corzine asked for the review “to put to rest any questions the public might have about the integrity of the process,” Corzine spokesman Anthony Coley told the newspaper.
Those questions are largely rooted in recent news that Katz bought a $1 million condo in the same Hoboken building where Corzine lives and other questions about her finances. Corzine had previously acknowledged that he forgave a $470,000 loan to Katz after their breakup.
From the New York Times today:
In February, the state negotiated a new contract with state workers that would give them a 13 percent pay increase over four years but would require them for the first time to pay a share of health care premiums.
The workers were set to vote last month on whether to approve the contract, but the vote was delayed until next Wednesday after two of seven local presidents for the union, the Communications Workers of America, opposed the contract.
One of the two dissident leaders is Ms. Katz, president of Local 1034 and a former companion of the governor. She argued the union gave away too much to the state.