Assemblyman Frederick Scalera (D-Essex) a legislator since 2003 has resigned from the lower house, apparently because the position is in the way of a new job.
Scalera, 52, a Nutley deputy fire chief, was not immediately available on Monday to comment on his decision.
There may also be some politics involved.
Former Assembly Republican Majority Leader Paul DiGaetano, a Nutley native and a former gubernatorial candidate, is expected to attempt to regain a seat in the 36th District in the November 2011 election. Besides including Essex County, reaches into Bergen and Passaic counties. Assemblyman Gary S. Schaer (D-Passaic) represents the district with Scalera.
Democrats on the committee that will reshape the state's 40 legislative districts based on the results of the 2010 U.S. census, will attempt to remove Nutley out of the 36th and place it in the neighboring heavily Democratic 28th or 34th districts in Essex, where four Democratic Assembly members, including Speaker Sheila Oliver, cannot be bumped from the ticket. Nutley is also the hometown of Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo.
Oliver (D-Essex) said of Scalera. "No one in the New Jersey General Assembly knew more about public safety and homeland security than Assemblyman Scalera. His input was always valued, and his expertise always helpful.
"Thanks to Assemblyman Scalera, we are a safer state," Oliver said. "His sound advice and strong leadership will be missed, but on behalf of the General Assembly, I wish Assemblyman Scalera well as he moves to the next chapter in a life that's been devoted to public service."
Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Cryan (D-Union) added, Assemblyman Scalera's decision to move to the next challenge in his life is understandable yet still disappointing news. Fred has been a lifelong public servant, and his expertise when it came to public safety and homeland security was invaluable to both his colleagues here in the Assembly and to the public he so dutifully represented.
"Assemblyman Scalera had more than 100 bills signed into law during his tenure in the Assembly," Cryan said. "That's an impressive output, especially considering how many of them have to do with improving and ensuring public safety and looking out for those most in need.
— TOM HESTER SR., NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM