Murphy Reups Fisher and Lanigan Respectively at Ag and Corrections

Throwing what to date has been his lone bone to the South against the din of backchannel hand wringing over his choice to lead the Department of Education, Governor-elect Phil Murphy today announced his appointment of Douglas Fisher to remain Secretary of the Department of Agriculture.

Murphy also tapped Gary Lanigan to continue serving as Commissioner of the Department of Corrections.

“I am proud to ask both Secretary Fisher and Commissioner Lanigan to continue providing the steady leadership they have shown at the departments of Agriculture and Corrections,” said Murphy. “They are respected leaders both inside and outside state government, and have proven experience that we need as we put New Jersey on a new course for growth and fairness.”

Secretary Fisher, 70, was nominated by the state Board of Agriculture to become its Secretary and sworn into office in March 2009. Prior to his appointment, he served four terms in the General Assembly and was chairman of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. He is a former Cumberland County Freeholder. Fisher is the longest-serving member of the current Cabinet.

As Secretary, Fisher oversees state agricultural research projects and the growth of the state’s agricultural industries – including the preservation of family farms – farmland and soil protection efforts, the marketing of New Jersey-produced goods, and school lunch and charitable food distribution programs.

According to research, New Jersey agriculture provides nearly $13 billion annually to the state’s economy and supports more than 58,000 jobs.

“New Jersey agriculture is a growth industry, and I am excited to work with Governor-elect Murphy to create an economy that fully supports everyone from family farmers to the scientists developing new and exciting crops,” said Fisher. “So much of our state’s future is tied to preserving and protecting the farming heritage that made us the Garden State.”

Commissioner Lanigan, 65, has led the Department of Corrections since March 2010, and has overseen the agency’s 8,000 employees, 13 facilities, and roughly $1 billion budget.

During his tenure, Lanigan has implemented performance-based management principles that have led to a 40-percent decrease in departmental overtime costs and a 93-percent decrease in county jail expenditures by significantly cutting the number of state-sentenced inmates assigned to county jails.

Prior to joining the Department of Correction, Lanigan served in a series of leadership positions in New York, including as Director of Budgets and Financial Management at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, as First Deputy Commissioner for the New York City Department of Correction.

“Leading the dedicated men and women of the Department of Corrections who protect our communities has been an honor, and I am looking forward to continuing to serve,” said Lanigan. “Governor-elect Murphy recognizes that corrections is also about providing people with a chance to better themselves for a new life after their sentences are served. I look forward to working with him to ensuring fairness and access to the services we need to provide educational and job training programs vital to reducing recidivism.”

Lanigan would continue to serve pending reconfirmation by the state Senate.

Secretary Fisher will continue in the position as current.

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