New Jersey has a strong central government. The governor has potent appointment and financial powers. New Jersey’s local governments like to tout their home-rule powers — and they’re correct in certain circumstances — but when it comes to municipal, county, and school finance the state’s powers and oversight are quite significant.
The office of the governor is viewed as the strongest in the country. Unlike many states, New Jersey’s governor (and lieutenant governor) are the only officers elected statewide, and all cabinet officers and principal state officials are appointed by the governor — unlike Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New York, for example, where several cabinet officials are elected.
Richard F. Keevey is the former budget director and comptroller for New Jersey, appointed by two governors. He was also the CFO for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the deputy undersecretary of defense. He is currently a senior policy fellow at the School of Planning and Policy at Rutgers University.