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A Quiet Handover of Power in New Jersey

From Associated Press

State Senate President Richard J. Codey on Sunday took the oath of office as New Jersey’s acting governor, a role he will assume Tuesday after Gov. James E. McGreevey’s resignation becomes official.

The transfer of power caps a transition period that began with McGreevey’s disclosure in August that he would resign because of a sex scandal.

Codey, 57, a Democrat, opted for a private swearing-in ceremony at his West Orange home in deference to the circumstances of McGreevey’s departure, aides said.

“I never wanted to be governor under these circumstances. And this is not the time for a big ceremony or a big swearing-in,” Codey said. But, he added, “I’m looking forward to governing and bringing back calm, peace and a sense of harmony to the state of New Jersey.”

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He was sworn in by state Senate Minority Leader Leonard Lance, a Republican. Besides a few staff members and state police security, the only other people at the ceremony were Codey’s wife, Mary Jo, their two sons and the monsignor of a parochial school.

McGreevey’s announcement that he had engaged in an extramarital affair with a man and would resign put Codey in line to fulfill the governor’s term, which ends in January 2006.

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

Aides said McGreevey’s last day in office was expected to be quiet, spent with his family away from the capital. He is not expected to grant any pardons or conduct state business.


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