New Jersey governor James E. McGreevey will make his public farewell one week before he leaves office with a personal and reflective address that also will highlight his accomplishments over the past two years, according to a spokeswoman. The 10- to 15-minute speech on the afternoon of Monday, November 8, will be made at the State Museum auditorium in Trenton, spokeswoman Kathy Ellis said Tuesday.
Besides friends, staff, and cabinet members, attendees are expected to include legislators, various appointees, and supporters from organized labor and the American Association of Retired Persons. McGreevey will speak of his efforts to overhaul the state's troubled child welfare agency and the Division of Motor Vehicles, which became the Motor Vehicle Commission under his reforms to crack down on fraud and improve customer service.
Under McGreevey, the state increased caseworker staffing and instituted policy changes designed to improve oversight by the Division of Youth and Family Services, which made headlines and drew sharp criticism for a series of lapses in its supervision of children. Ellis said McGreevey will also highlight after-school and community college programs undertaken by his administration as well as "a number of environmental accomplishments--tougher air and water regulations and the creation of a number of state parks."
Ellis said McGreevey remains upbeat despite his impending departure. "His spirits are excellent; he's feeling keenly grateful for the opportunity to serve the state as governor and at the same time looking forward to the next phase of his life, which will include service to New Jersey," Ellis said. McGreevey has not indicated how or what that service would be, Ellis said. Published reports have indicated his plans to resume work as a lawyer. Prior to becoming mayor of Woodbridge, McGreevey had worked as a prosecutor.
A small private reception at the governor's mansion in Princeton will follow McGreevey's public remarks, Rahway mayor Jim Kennedy, a longtime McGreevey friend, told The [Newark] Star-Ledger for Tuesday's newspapers.
McGreevey, 47, stunned the state and the nation August 12 with the disclosure that he is gay, the claim that he had had an affair with a man, and the declaration that he would resign November 15. McGreevey does not intend to make a public address on his final day in office, said spokesman Micah Rasmussen. State senate president Richard J. Codey, a fellow Democrat, is to take over as acting governor and serve the remaining 14 months of McGreevey's term.