- The Washington Times - Monday, November 15, 2004

WEST ORANGE, N.J. (AP) — State Senate President Richard J. Codey yesterday took the oath of office as New Jersey’s acting governor, a role he will assume tomorrow after Gov. James E. McGreevey’s resignation becomes official.

The transfer of power caps a transition period that began with Mr. McGreevey’s disclosure in August that he would resign because of an extramarital affair with another man.

Mr. Codey, 57, a Democrat, opted for a private swearing-in ceremony in deference to the circumstances of Mr. McGreevey’s departure, aides said. The event at Mr. Codey’s West Orange home was closed to the public and the news media, except for an Associated Press photographer.

“I’m looking forward to governing and bringing back calm, peace and a sense of harmony to the state of New Jersey,” Mr. Codey said outside his home minutes after the brief ceremony.

He was sworn in by state Senate Minority Leader Leonard Lance, a Republican from Hunterdon County. Besides a few staff members and state police security, the only other people at the ceremony were Mr. Codey’s wife, Mary Jo, their two sons and Monsignor Michael Kelly of Seton Hall Prep, a private boys high school in West Orange.

Mr. McGreevey’s administration was beset by scandal, including his hiring of an Israeli poet as New Jersey’s chief of homeland security. The governor’s August “I am a gay American” resignation announcement threw the state’s executive branch into turmoil and put Mr. Codey in line to assume the governor’s job, with Mr. McGreevey’s term ending in January 2006.

Because New Jersey is one of eight states without the position of lieutenant governor, Mr. Codey will wield the clout of both governor and Senate leader for a time.

Mr. Codey, first elected to the Legislature in 1973, plans to remain in his home, declining to move to the governor’s mansion in Princeton.

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