By Matt Friedman and Kelly Heyboer/The Star-Ledger

NEWARK — Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-Essex) said today she will not bring a measure to the Assembly floor — proposed by her Democratic legislative partner, Senate President Stephen Sweeney — that would disband the Rutgers University board of trustees.

“I don’t think that speaks to improving or retrofitting the governing structure,” Oliver said during an interview with The Star-Ledger editorial board. “I don’t think that’s the way to do it.”

Assembly speaker will not post bill dissolving Rutgers board of trustees
Saying flatly that she will not post a bill to disband the Rutgers University board of trustees, Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-Essex) conceded the matter has caused friction between her and Senate President Stephen Sweeney, who proposed the bill. (Video by Nyier Abdou/The Star-Ledger)
Sweeney, a Democrat from Gloucester County, insists the board is an unnecessary body that causes problems for the university. It is also the group that resisted the merger of Rutgers and Rowan universities, a plan vigorously pushed by Sweeney’s political benefactor, George Norcross, and Gov. Chris Christie.

Sweeney quietly introduced the bill (S2902) June 24, then moved it to a status called “second reading” — which means it can bypass a committee hearing and head straight to the Senate floor for a vote. In the Assembly, Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson), who as budget chairman is the third highest-ranking member of the house, introduced the measure along with Assemblyman Charles Mainor (D-Hudson). Shortly after they submitted the measure, Oliver also put it on the fast track.

But Oliver, who decides what bills the Assembly votes on, said just because she gave the bill the special status did not mean she intended to put it up for a vote.


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