Gov. Chris Monday named Sussex County Freeholder Hal Wirths as commissioner of the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development and Lori Grifa as commissioner of the state Department of Community Affairs.
"It is important we have a strong team who is willing to be creative, think outside the box and do what needs to be done to get results,'' Chrisite said at the Statehouse. "There is no disputing we have a series of difficult challenges we must tackle and overcome and I am confident that with this team in place we will fundamentally change the way New Jersey government operates."
Wirths, of Wantage, is a founding member and on the board of directors of the Highland's State Bank and has been with the firm since 2004. He is chairman of the Loan Committee and a member of the bank's merger team. Since 2000, Wirths has been director of the Sussex freeholder board and serves as chairman of the budget committee, which oversees a budget of over $100 million.From 1986 until 2004, Wirths was a small business owner of the Oak Shoppe Furniture stores. .
Grifa, a lawyer, was most recently a member of Wolff & Samson's Government and Regulatory Affairs Group. She focused on the areas of administrative, regulatory and government affairs, and handled commercial and employment litigation.
From 2002-2003, she served as chief of staff to state Attorney General David Samson. In that capacity, she was responsible for managing the state Department of Law & Public Safety, which is comprised of more than 9,500 employees, including 800 attorneys. She also oversaw the state's criminal prosecution efforts.
Before joining Wolff & Samson, Grifa was a special assistant district attorney in the Homicide Investigation Unit of the New York County District Attorney's Office for two years and was a senior assistant district attorney with the Kings County (Brooklyn) District Attorney from 1989-1997, where she specialized in homicide and gang-related prosecutions.
Grifa received appointments by the chief justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court to a number of important committees, including the Committee for Women and the Courts and the State Domestic Violence Working Group. Most recently, she was appointed to the District V-A Attorney Ethics Committee for a four-year term that began in September 2008. She is listed in The Best Lawyers in America in the area of administrative law and was named by NJBIZ magazine in 2008 as one of New Jersey's "Best 50 Women in Business." A graduate of Boston College School of Law, Grifa earned her bachelor's degree at Rutgers University.
Here is how the Christie administration is shaping up:
Lieutenant Governor — Kim Guadagno (Elected)
Secretary of Agriculture — Vacant
Attorney General — Paula Dow
Banking and Insurance Commissioner — Tom Considine
Children and Families Commissioner — Vacant
Civil Service Commissioner — Vacant
Community Affairs Commissioner — Lori Grifa
Corrections Commissioner — Gary Lanigan
Council of Economic Advisors Chairman — Bob Grady
Criminal Justice Director — Stephen Taylor
Economic Development Authority Director — Al Koeppe
Education Commissioner — Bret Schundler
Environmental Protection Commissioner — Bob Martin
Governor's Appointments Council — Michele Brown
Governor's Authorities Unit Director — Deborah Gramiccioni
Governor's Cabinet Secretary — Lou Goetting
Governor's Chief Counsel — Jeff Chiesa
Governor's Chief of Staff — Richard Bagger
Governor's Deputy Chief of Staff — Bill Stepien
Governor's Deputy Counsel — Kevin O'Dowd
Governor's Deputy Chief of Staff/Communications — Maria Comella
Governor's Deputy Chief of Staff/Policy & Planning — Wayne Hasenbalg
Governor's Director of Operations — Rosemary Ianncone
Health and Senior Services Commissioner — Vacant
Human Services Commissioner — Jennifer Velez
Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner — Hal Wirths
Law Director — Robert Hanna
Military and Veterans Affairs Commissioner — Maj. Gen. Glenn K. Rieth
Motor Vehicle Commission Director — Vacant
Office of Economic Growth — Vacant
Office of Homeland Security and Prepardness — Charles B. McKenna
Public Advocate — Vacant
Public Utilities President — Lee Solomon
Secretary of State — Kim Guadagno
State Police Superintendent — Vacant
Treasurer — Andrew Eristoff
— TOM HESTER SR., NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM