The Retirement of a Veteran Democratic Statehouse Hand


The retirement of Anthony “Skip” Cimino as executive director represents a significant loss from the majority office of a key player with a wealth of institutional knowledge at precisely that time when Speaker Craig Coughlin prepares to assume the role of veteran legislative leader in the aftermath of the era of Senate President Steve Sweeney.

A Steinert High School-Boston College-Georgetown-educated engineer from Hamilton, Cimino served as an assemblyman at the Statehouse in the James J. Florio era (and also as Florio’s commissioner of personnel). He retired as President/Chief Executive Officer of the Robert Wood Johnson Healthcare Corporation at Hamilton, a position he held for five years. Later he worked at the Kaufman Zita Group. Prior to joining RWJ/Hamilton, he was President and a director at CMX, a national professional design firm that was the successor firm to Schoor DePalma. Additionally, Cimino served as Commissioner of Personnel during the Florio Administration, and served as a Mercer County freeholder for six years, where he served as board president, and as a member of the Hamilton Township Board of Education, serving two terms as president.

In his role as ED of the Assembly Majority Office, he could routinely pragmatically steady the Democratic caucus room, while also providing some gravitas and a strong spine in difficult political weather.

Of all his jobs through the years, Cimino most loved serving as an assemblyman from Hamilton, the town his family moved to in 1951.

As an assemblyman, Cimino authored some signature pieces of legislation, including ethics rules governing local School Boards, and bicycle helmet safety.

The bike safety legislation originally contained language pertaining to bike riders 18 and up. It passed out of the Assembly with the age at 18, but then went back after the senate amended the age. The session was coming to an end and then-Speaker Joe Doria was getting ready to close out the session when Cimino – passionate about the bill after working with impacted families – prevailed on him to post the bill.

Later, Governor Florio called Cimino in and asked him if his ego was sufficiently strong that day, before telling him that he wouldn’t sign the bill. Cimino said only that he wished the governor would read the testimonies of people who had lost children in bicycle accidents. Florio said he would. Cimino said that’s all he asked for, and respected Florio’s decision as the governor.

A little later, apparently after having read the accompanying testimonies, the governor called Cimino and told him he intended to sign the legislation into law, and he did.

Here’s where the law stands today:

Title 39:4-10.1

In New Jersey, anyone under 17 years of age that rides a bicycle or is a passenger on a bicycle, or is towed as a passenger by a bicycle must wear a safety helmet.

On August 1, 1998 this helmet law was extended to include roller and inline skates and skateboards. Roller skates means a pair of devices worn on the feet with a set of wheels attached, regardless of the number or placement of those wheels and used to glide or propel the user over the ground.

The definition of bicycle with reference to the helmet legislation is a vehicle with two wheels propelled solely by human power and having pedals, handle bars and a saddle-like seat. The term shall include a bicycle for two or more persons having seats and corresponding pedals arranged in tandem.

All helmets must be properly fastened and fitted. Bicycle helmets must meet the federal standards developed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) effective March 10, 1999 that ensure the best head protection and strong chin straps to keep the helmet in place during a fall or collision. Also acceptable are helmets meeting the Snell Memorial Foundation’s 1990 Standard for Protection Headgear.

Exemptions from the helmet requirement are persons who operate or ride a bicycle (as a driver or a passenger) on a roadway

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