Chris Christie, the Republican governor of New Jersey, is taking heat for attending his son’s baseball game yesterday. The reason is his dramatic and showy appearance using a State Police helicopter. Not only did he make certain everyone knew he had arrived, but he did with taxpayer dollars.
Of course, he didn’t stay for the entire game, leaving after the fifth inning. The game actually stopped long enough for the illustrious governor to take off again with his wife.
The governor’s spokesman, Michael Drewniak, says that usage of the helicopter has been kept to a minimum by the governor, but unless he was en route to an official function when he stopped at the game, this constitutes personal use of a public entity. Taxpayers are on the line for the pilot’s salary, the fuel in the helicopter and the time usage of the helicopter. (Philly.com)
In this situation, the governor made both his presence and departure visible and obvious. A state vehicle was available, but wasn’t used. Were time constraints involved in this decision? That isn’t known, but Christie’s flamboyant flight to and from the game was expensive and the costs should be repaid to taxpayers by Mr. Christie himself.