The Senate Legislative Oversight Committee Interviews Bret Schundler

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During questioning from Senator Barbara Buono today, Schundler describes hearing that Governor Christie was nixing the final draft of our Race To The Top application that represented a compromise between the DOE and the NJEA:

Schundler: “The Governor called me Friday morning. I was about to go to a meeting at Liberty Science Center and I got a call on my cellphone. The Governor said he was going to abandon the application. He said that he heard Jim Gearhart [morning show host on 101.5 FM] say that he had caved in to the union on these points. He said that he had been demeaned by the union. That after all of their attacks on him he was not going to go through the fire merely to cave in to the union. He said that emphatically and for a rather extended period of time.”

Buono: “What were your instructions?”

Schundler: “I ultimately had a chance to respond and say, ‘Governor, we are not caving in. The Union has agreed to everything we have asked for except for one significant point that has to do with the Reduction in Force issue.’ I tried to get the Governor to understand that we weren’t giving up our reform agenda…nothing precluded us from [pursuing other reforms] afterwards but if we had the unions on board with us I was almost certain that we’d win the 400 million dollars. At the close of that conversation the Governor said that he was even more upset then, that we’d allow victory to be spun as defeat, that in our own description of the agreement with NJEA we’d allowed them to say that we’d compromised on so many fronts.”

Buono: “The portrait you have painted of a governor under oath who has sacrificed 400 million dollars to further a personal vendetta is extremely troubling.”

Schundler: “I don’t know if it was a personal vendetta. I know it was a bad decision.”

Senator Paul Sarlo: “We did not elect Jim Gearhart to make policy decisions for NJ.”

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  • Dyrnwyn, October 7, 2010 @ 10:51 pm Reply

    The NJEA has had a personal vendetta against kids in failing schools for 30 years. No one subpoenaed them.

  • Tom, October 8, 2010 @ 12:36 am Reply

    I am not surprised to hear this information from Mr. Schundler.

    We outsiders never really know the full story most of the time. There are always some fine details missing.

    I like what the former Governor Tom Keane said: ” a very unfortunate matter”….using the word ” unfortunate more than once.”

    Yes, indeed…..unfortunate for all concerned…..unfortunate for Bret Schundler (also his family members) who watched Bret be publically whipped and humiliated unnecessarily. Even if big mouth Bret deserved it….the public humiliation….it should not have happened publically. Also,unfortunate for the State, the GOP and all friends of this good Governor.

    In the future Mr. Governor…..please think about calling your Cabinet member in or any person in your administration and simply saying: ” I am going to make a change, the reasons are not important. You have —X—-number of weeks to find a job and you should start looking right now. In the meantime, all decisions of your department will go thru my Office. I wish you and your family the best and I am sorry to have to take this step, but it is final.”

    Please do not do the dirty work thru subordinates like Joe Blow and Margie Small. Stand up like the big man you are. I am a businessman and I do all my dirty work, myself- personally. I do this not because I like to see the pain and hurt in someones face; but it allows me to be as decent and caring to the person as I possibly can in his hour of pain/humiliation. I learned this along time ago thru teachings from my upbringing and those that mentored me including people of faith and their teachings.

    Be man enough Mr. Governor to do it yourself…..face your cabinet member directly rather than hide behind counsellor Joe Blow or Margie Small. Perhaps you will learn something by the experience.In fact, maybe you will even give me some ideas on other jobs that he can perform somewhere else and is capable of.

    Having said the above, this Governor, Mr. Christie is well intentioned a real good man. As a US Attorney he was in fact among the very best to ever occupy the job. I am proud to say that I personally sent him at least two referrals; one of which he convicted and sent away. I sincerely wish Mr. Christie the best success, we all want him to do well, it is very important for the State of New Jersey. From what I can tell he was raised in good family with good values and has wonderful family of his own. He has done alot of good and is capable of doing much good for our sick State.

    Chris……when you get angry again…Please count to 25….and then think for a few more minutes.
    The reason I can say this easily is that I also suffer from the same shortcoming and am working on it.

    Good Luck and God Bless,


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