Rutgers-Rowan Merger Plan Faces More Opposition, Questions Over Who Has Power to Authorize It

Tim Goral's picture

As voices rose again yesterday in opposition to Gov. Chris Christie’s proposed takeover of Rutgers-Camden by Rowan University, a new front emerged over the question of who holds the power make it happen: the governor or the Legislature.

"I don’t have a clear answer on that one," Assemblywoman Celeste Riley (D-Salem), co-chairwoman of the joint legislative committee holding a hearing on the proposal, said.

"Initially I was told that it was going to happen through executive reorganization, but now I am hearing it will come through the Legislature, Riley added. "So, I still don’t have a firm answer."

The answer will go a long way in determining the outcome of the controversial proposal, which also calls for Rutgers University to absorb parts of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

Although he has remained vague about his plans, the Republican governor has not ruled out using a 1969 law that empowers the state’s chief executive to reorganize departments with modest legislative interference. Under the law, Christie would submit his reorganization to both chambers, and if neither rejected the plan within 60 days it would go into effect.

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