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Are State Cabinet Comissioners Under Paid? [AUDIO/POLL]

Governor Christie press conference announcing cabinet changes
Governor Christie press conference announcing cabinet changes (Dino Flammia, Townsquare Media NJ)

Do you think you could eke out a living on $141,000 a year? That’s real money, right? Evidently, that salary just doesn’t cut it if you’re a cabinet commissioner for the Governor, because every time one steps down we’re told it because he or she wants to return to the private sector to make real money.

Governor Chris Christie was asked if it’s difficult attracting and keeping the people he wants as senior staffers on that salary. He said, “It is a challenge. There’s no question. In a place like New Jersey with a high cost of living if you want to attract the very best as we’ve tried to do in our cabinet, they make significant financial sacrifice…..Also you have to balance that against the fact that we’re in really challenging economic times right now and fiscal times and it certainly wouldn’t be my position that we raise those salaries.”

“When you have a family and you have the expenses that go along with a family eventually your ability to be able to continue to serve becomes somewhat restricted,” explains Christie. “It is a challenge for them and their families to continue to be able to make the sacrifice that goes along with service.”

Last week, Department of Banking and Insurance commissioner Tom Considine became the latest cabinet chief to step down. When making the announcement, the Governor said, “It was our understanding all along when he came in that this would not be for an unlimited period of time. That he would go as long as he could go and when the time came he would tap me on the shoulder and let me know when he needed to go back and make some more money.”

In December, Christie’s chief of staff, Rich Bagger announced he would resign to return to the biopharmaceutical sector as Senior Vice President for Corporate Affairs and Strategic Market Access for Celgene Corporation.

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