Never the best of friends since the former ousted the latter from the senate throne back in 2009, state Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) and Senator Dick Codey (D-27) fought behind the scenes today when Senate Democrats caucused in Trenton.
Partnered with senators Ronald L. Rice (D-28) and Nia Gill (D-34), Codey argued for increased legislative salaries from $49,000 to $69,000.
Sweeney pushed back.
“It’s not a good look for part-time legislators,” the senate president said.
The in-caucus back and forth occurred after the senate and assembly jointly caucused today.
Once the senators broke off from the assembly for separate meetings of the two governing bodies, Codey put the policy point to Sweeney, against the back drop of poor relations early between the Senate President and the new front office.
Codey was an early backer of Murphy for Governor, back at a time when Sweeney himself was trying to be governor. The senator from West Essex, a former Acting Governor, argued that legislators have had the same salaries for two decades, but Sweeney – in control of the caucus – wasn’t having it, a source told InsiderNJ.
“There would be no appetite for raises for part-time legislators,” the source said, reflecting the will of the rest of the Sweeney-led caucus, despite the push by Rice, Gill and Codey.
InsiderNJ contacted Rice after the caucus meeting.
“The conversation I was part of was how the judges haven’t had a raise in some time,” said the veteran senator from Newark. “It came up around them, and most of the discussions we had centered around them.”
The senator said he wishes too that the governing body would examine cost of living increases for legislative staff, which he said was also part of the discussion.