When Tom Carver was head of the Casino Association in Atlantic City during the 1980s, he had a way of getting himself in trouble with local politicians. Usually, it was something he said — bluntly and colorfully, the kind of quotable guy reporters love.
Understand, he didn’t trash other people - but he never hesitated to call it like he saw it.
Atlantic City politicians demanded he be fired back in the mid-1980s when he had the temerity to suggest the city needed a good, professional city manager to help with its fiscal and management problems. City government was similarly atwitter when he called Atlantic City an “aging whore” with its hand out in Time Magazine.
He was right on both counts back then. And Carver survived. He's a pragmatic, realistic guy who took the lumps and waited for the tempest to pass. And he came back a few years ago as executive director of the CRDA,where he's done a good job in a tough situation.
But he couldn’t survive being a Democratic appointment - someone who was not selected by Gov. Chris Christie.
It’s hardly the first time a good authority director — or a good city manager, or a good whatever — has gotten kicked out of an administrative position because of poltical shifts. But it's always a shame.
And yes, I know, I'm being hopelessly naive. This sort of thing is business as usual in the political world, and the people who take these jobs know it. But that doesn't make it right — nor is it always in the best interests of taxpayers and voters.
Now, for all I know, Christie may bring in someone who’s perfect for the position. In any event, here’s wishing the new appointee, whoever it is, good luck. It’s a daunting job.
Carver, as always, was reasonable and pragmatic about the situation. He said last week he'd keep on doing his job until he was told to leave. On Tuesday, Christie just about told him to go: Asked whether he could live with Carter at the helm, Christie bluntly said no.
Carver resigned the next day. Civilly and without any colorful comments. He said he’d leave the commenting up to the governor’s office