Assemblyman Dave Rible confirmed a report by InsiderNJ that Governor Christie has nominated him to be the Director of Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control. The nomination appeared on the State Senate’s website on Thursday.
“I’m humbled with the Governor’s trust and confidence and I’m excited to move the ABC in a direction that helps both current and future licenses,” Rible, of Wall Township, said in a phone interview with MMM.
Rible said he would not resign his seat in the Assembly, where he holds the #2 Republican leadership position, until his appointment is confirmed by the Senate. Rible said he was uncertain about the timing of his confirmation. It could happen as soon as this month, he said, or it could happen after the election in November. He said he would stand for reelection to the Assembly if he is not confirmed before the election.
If confirmed, Rible will officially be replacing Michael I. Halfacre of Fair Haven. Halfacre resigned the position in June of 2015 to return to the practice of law and became the Executive Director of the New Jersey Beer Wholesalers Association in December of 2015.
Jonathon Orsen has been serving as the Acting Director of the Division. Orsen is on the verge of becoming a Tax Court Judge. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved his nomination on Thursday.
Should Rible resign his seat in the Assembly, the vacancy will be filled by a convention of the 30th district County Committee members. His role as nominee for the next term in the Assembly would likely go to the same person. Should Rible’s resignation come after the election in November, his replacement would have to compete in a special election next fall, assuming he wins in November.
The term of Rible’s nomination at ABC is not clear at this time. The Senate website says he is nominated “for the term prescribed by law.”
According to NJ 52:17B-16the director ” shall serve during the term of office of the Governor appointing him and until the director’s successor is appointed and has qualified..”
Another member of the legislature speculated that a deal has been struck with Senate President Sweeney to the effect that Rible would serve into the term of the next governor. Christie’s term expires in January.