Rueing LaRue

Friday’s post about onetime Corzine top aide Jeannine LaRue turned Rutgers vice president — with a delicious six-figure salary increase — caused at least one reader to spit on his keyboard. Wrote CreateNJ — from a Rutgers computer, incidentally: “How tacky…you put up the cartoon but talk about the tons of folks who wrote in refuting the cartoon and the fact that LaRue herself wrote a response which almost everybody…including folks who started the conversation…applauded her. I’m not a minority…but this is the most racist thing you guys have done…tacky….Btw…she is at Rutgers…has made her rounds with faculty, administrators, and deans…and is really rising to the challenge.”

Whoa, let’s have some applause. LaRue went on the payroll months ago and “she has made her rounds.” Some progress.

Frankly, we are clueless about what CreateNJ is trying to say in run-on thought after run-on thought. Probably all this inchoate mumbling was written in a moment of anger (tip: count to 10 before hitting “send,” it reduces embarrassment).

But we decided to review our thinking on LaRue — despite the Press of Atlantic City editorial denouncing her appointment.

And despite the op-ed written by onetime Rutgers board of trustees chairman Arthur Kamin who said, “one thing the state’s flagship teaching and research institution of higher education does not need is another lobbyist who was just hired at an unnecessary $250,000 annual salary.”

LaRue is lucky we are not the ones who grade her job performance. That’s because, in her first real test — the governor’s recent budget — she clearly came up short, at least in terms of persuading her presumed pal, Gov. Corzine. The Rutgers budget was cut 11.6%, whereas the across the board average cut for public higher education institutions was 10%

Rutgers fared worse than its public peers, despite LaRue’s past connections to Corzine.

As the Home News & Tribune wrote in an editorial, “the spending plan would be particularly hard on Rutgers University….All told, direct aid to Rutgers would plummet from $328.6 million in fiscal year 2008 to $290.6 million in fiscal year 2009, and that is a world of hurt.”

Of course it is unfair to put all this burden on LaRue — but right there is where her particular pedal should be hitting the metal. A highly paid Rutgers lobbyist ought to be getting the Rutgers case across in Trenton and, apparently, there is some static in her communications.

It’s not just us with questions about Ms. LaRue. As a Gannett newspaper reporter wrote, “Some have questioned some Rutgers appointments and lucrative salaries like that of Jeannine LaRue, who was hired as vice president of public affairs at a base salary of $250,000.”

We guess anytime a question is raised about how Rutgers spends its money, that must per se be “tacky” and “racist,” at least in the view of CreateNJ, writing on a Rutgers computer.

Incidentally, in a self-justifying wee note circulated by LaRue after her appointment triggered a flap, she noted, ” a friend of mine, CreateNJ”….

At least they have each other.

Indeed they do because who at PolitickerNJ.com is LaRue’s chief defender? You guessed it, CreateNJ.

She needs her defenders there, too. Noted Nbrefugee: “McCormick needs another useless employee as much as the average person needs herpes.”

But, curiously enough, we think we agree with CreateNJ about one thing. In a post that radiated frustration about all the anti-LaRue posts, CreateNJ wrote this: “Looking at the $1M investment for six years in a row to turn around the football team’s image as opposed to comments being made here about the University’s image at large, maybe they should have offered LaRue $1.2M instead of the measley $250K.” We think that is an attack on the continued waste of money on RU’s stumbling football presence (we admit to still not quite deciphering CreateNJ’s prose) — and, if so, bravo, CreateNJ. We are glad to agree with you about one thing.

Jeannine LaRue may be a waste of money…but we’ll take her in a heart-beat if we can shut down the ludicrous gusher of cash that props up Mulcahy’s follies. Write again, from that Rutgers computer, if you can offer us that deal.

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One Response to Rueing LaRue

  1. rutgers1000 says:

    Author : CreatenJ (IP: 165.230.146.210 , WIL326A.rutgers.edu)
    E-mail :
    URL :
    Whois : http://ws.arin.net/cgi-bin/whois.pl?queryinput=165.230.146.210
    Comment:
    How tacky…you put up the cartoon but talk about the tons of folks who wrote in refuting the cartoon and the fact that LaRue herself wrote a response which almost everybody…including folks who started the conversation…applauded her. I’m not a minority…but this is the most racist thing you guys have done…tacky…below is what she wrote about the cartoon. Btw…she is at Rutgers…has made her rounds with faculty, administrators, and deans…and is really rising to the challenge.

    About LaRue from Jeannine LaRue
    posted by LaRuelist 12/13/07

    Good evening folks,

    I have been watching the discussion about the cartoon, my boss..the Governor, Rutgers, the $1M, and revolving door. I have to tell you that my first instinct was that the cartoon was racist and those of you on this site either hated me or just didn’t know about the hard work I’ve done over the years. So, it goes without saying, “Yesterday was a rough day for me.”

    But, then a friend of mine, CreateNJ, had a little chat with me about what he thought Rob Tornoe was trying to convey. And, I have to admit that I went back and re-read all of the comments about three times. I’ve concluded that Rob Tornoe was not trying to send a racist image. He may have gone a little too close to the line because it’s easier if the person is Black. I also don’t think that I am the subject of his rendering…it is my boss…the Governor…whom I admire so very much.

    I chuckled to think that anyone would believe the Governor would help me get a job. It was just last week…Tuesday before his Iowa trip…that he said, “You’re not really leaving now, right?” I’ve been stressed out about leaving this Administration before lame-duck is over because I so much believe in his vision. But…you know when it’s time…and it’s time.

    And…I’ve been in discussions with Dr. McCormick about this position since July…I have the e-mail traffic on my personal computer to prove it. I thought…maybe September…then November…finally, I decided December 14th would be it. So, Dr. McCormick placed my appointment on the December 6th board agenda…and December 5th my boss made an announcement…and all hell broke loose. He didn’t realize my appointment was on the agenda…and I didn’t know he was going to make an announcement…you just gotta’ love him.

    In closing…I never post on this site or any others, but I thought that I owed you a break in my silence. Many of you have made some very good points…you touched on issues of credibility, integrity, racial tolerance, and transparency that I will think about in the many days and months ahead.

    I’ve done a lot in my professional career: English teacher, college professor and administrator, Casino Control Commissioner, NJEA lobbyist, elected school board and council member (different times…no dual office holder), and my favorite, Sr. VP of Saint Barnabas Health Care System…the largest health care system in the State. But…this position in the Governor’s office has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve done. It’s been great to see government up close.

    Thank you folks for your input. I’ve already committed to Rob Tornoe that I will purchase the original art rendering. And…everytime I look at it on my wall at Rutgers, I’ll think about all of the things I’ve learned in the last 24 hours on this site. The First Amendment is a beautiful thing…never shy away from using it…never over-think on how to abuse it. Whether you ever think I should go to Rutgers…it’s fine…I’m going. Lol. It’s YOUR State University…and I hope to do you proud. I know…corny…but it’s me.

    Peace

    Jeannine LaRue

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