Frequently Asked Questions about the Appointments Process in New Jersey
1. What types of appointments are available in New Jersey's government?
There are three types of appointments to state-level boards and commissions:
- Approval Appointments are made by department commissioners and must be confirmed by the governor.
- Direct Appointments are made directly by the governor and can be made at any time.
- Advise and Consent Appointments are made by the governor but must be confirmed by the Senate.
If you are nominated by the governor, your nomination will be submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee for review. You will receive a questionnaire which must be completed and returned to the committee. You will need to procure sign-off on your candidacy from every state senator who represents any part of your county. If you have received all sign-offs and the Judiciary recommends your candidacy to the full Senate, your nomination will be presented for a vote at a Senate voting session. If you receive confirmation from the Senate, you will begin service on the board.
2. How can I determine what boards and commissions exist in New Jersey?
A list of boards and commissions is available here. You can also consult the Manual of the Legislature of New Jersey, published annually by Skinder-Strauss Associates, at your local library. The manual is also referred to as Fitzgerald's and/or the Legislative Manual. Each department of state government has affiliated boards and commissions, and there are operational commissions, governor's commissions, study commissions and various authorities that have appointed positions. You may also want to check the web site of the state department you are interested in serving.
3. How can I find out which boards or commissions have vacancies?
Contact the governor's appointments office to determine if there are openings on the board(s) in which you have an interest. Contact information for Governor Phil Murphy's appointments office is here.
4. How can I find out which boards and commissions have paid positions?
You can consult the Manual of the Legislature of New Jersey, published annually by Skinder-Strauss Associates, at your local library. The manual is also referred to as Fitzgerald's and/or the Legislative Manual. The manual lists the salaries and expenses paid, if any, for the state boards and commissions.
5. Are there any special disclosure requirements for serving on state boards and commissions?
Some state boards and commissions require Financial Disclosure Statements. More details can be found on the State Ethics Commission web site, including the most frequently asked questions about financial disclosure. Former Governor Christie's Executive Order 24 lists the state boards and commissions requiring disclosure. If you have an questions about disclosure requirements, please contact the Governor's appointments office directly.
6. What should I do to improve my chances of getting appointed?
The most effective way to request an appointment from the governor is to have strong letters of recommendation. For example, you might get letters from your state senator, Assembly members, freeholders, the chairperson of your county political party, prominent business leaders, non-profit leaders, members of your own profession with a prominent name within the community, or even the leader of a professional or community group with which you are active. Ask your supporter(s) to write a letter on your behalf, recommending you for a specific board/commission and outlining what makes you a top candidate for this board. Follow up with the appointments office to make sure your materials and letters of reference were received.
If you are not appointed by the governor to the particular board that interests you, follow up with the appointments office to discuss your areas of interest so you may be considered for other boards or commissions.
7. What is the Bipartisan Coalition for Women's Appointments (BCWA)?
The New Jersey Bipartisan Coalition for Women's Appointments (BCWA) is a statewide, bipartisan group of prominent women and organizations. The purpose of BCWA is to ensure the placement of women in key positions throughout state government. BCWA’s goals are to:
- create the expectation within both major parties that women will play significant roles in government, both in the cabinet and on boards and commissions;
- help the next governor identify a strong diverse pool of women candidates for positions within the new administration;
- educate New Jersey women about the thousands of state, county and municipal appointed positions available;
- encourage New Jersey women to submit their resumes for gubernatorial appointments and provide them the tools and information they need to seek appointments.