New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney is suing Rutgers University over the appointment of Martin Perez to the Board of Governors, northjersey.com reports.
The basis for Sweeney’s lawsuit is that the seat Perez now occupies should have been given to a Camden County resident according to a law passed in 2012 that expanded the Board of Governors from 11 to 15 members, according to the report.
Gov. Chris Christie emphasizes he has the right to appoint one member without approval from the Senate, according to the report.
Sweeney initially requested immediate legal action, but that request was denied by an appeals judge on Tuesday, according to northjersey.com.
Perez was sworn in on July 15. Perez was initially set to be sworn in Thursday, July 11, but said he received a phone call while on his way to the meeting informing him he would not be sworn in, due to a legal challenge from Sweeney.
Prior to Perez’s swearing in, Rutgers Director of Media Relations E.J. Miranda stated all legal challenges to Perez’s appointment had been resolved.
Christie made the appointment as one of his two new appointments to the Board allotted him by the Higher Education Restructuring Act, which also merged seven of the University of Medicine and Dentistry New Jersey's (UMDNJ) schools with Rutgers.
Christie made the appointment after the State Senate stalled on the nomination for 18 months.
The Board of Governors is selected in part by the Governor and in part by the Board of Trustees, a University governing body Sweeney has proposed eliminating.
Perez graduated from the Rutgers School of Law-Newark in 1986. His wife and son are also graduates from the Rutgers School of Law-Newark, and his daughter is a current student at Rutgers.