By John Burton
FAIR HAVEN — If the Governor gets his way, former Mayor Michael Halfacre will be heading to Trenton for a new job.
Governor Chris Christie on Monday announced his intention to name Halfacre to serve as director of the state Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) office.
When contacted byThe Two River Times this week, Halfacre declined to discuss the appointment but acknowledged he has stepped down as mayor effective Tuesday, presumably to make way for his future appointment.
Halfacre, 45, a Republican with a Little Silver law practice, been mayor of Fair Haven for the past five years. In the 1990s he served on the local board of education and as a borough council member.
In 2010 Halfacre sought his party’s nomination to run for the 12th Congressional district race, seeking to challenge incumbent Democrat Rush Holt, but he bowed out prior to the June primary, with wealthy financier Scott Sipprelle winning the nomination but losing in the general election.
Halfacre’s name was on a list of seven candidates for appointments that the Republican governor announced on Monday, with Halfacre joining two men Christie would like to appoint as associate justices to the state’s Supreme Court; others he nominated for the New Jersey Cultural Trust Board of Trustees, board of trustees for the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and to fill two seats on the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission.
As with all of Christie’s nominees, Halfacre’s appointment is contingent on winning the approval of the Democratic controlled state Senate.
The ABC comes under the jurisdiction of the state Attorney General’s Office; with the director acting as an assistant attorney general. If appointed director, Halfacre would be responsible for regulation and enforcement of state laws covering alcoholic beverages.
If he is appointed, Halfacre will replace the current director, Jerry Fischer, who, according to ABC spokesman Zach Hosseini, is the longest serving director, having held the office since the Whitman Administration.
Fischer’s current annual salary is $120,000.
Under state statute, the county party committee has 30 days to propose three candidates to fill the mayoral vacancy in Fair Haven. The borough council would then vote to make the selection.