There’s some really inspired stuff coming out of Trenton right now. This time, it’s that higher education merger bill that will create a university structure that no one likes, that seems likely to create at least as many problems as it solves, but which we’re getting anyway, so deal with it.
The biggest bone of contention among those who are about to be destroyed don’t support the proposal has been the cost, which is yet to be disclosed as of this writing. You couldn’t sell an executive on agreeing to a merger without knowing the cost, but fortunately for the powers that be, the Legislature isn’t comprised of critical executives carefully watching the bottom line, but of sheep carefully watching the grass immediately in front of their noses.
So the inspired bit: Sources told The Star-Ledger that it won’t cost taxpayers a dime to merge the schools. At least, not this year, because the start date is being pushed back a year. In summary: Approve this bill, which will cost tens of millions of dollars a year to realign the schools in the order George Norcross calls more pleasing, and don’t worry about kicking the can just a little farther down the road. After all, this is New Jersey! The can’s already got more dents than the combined personal histories of Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong, and the road is the New Jersey Turnpike. What’s a little further?
If merging schools is the right decision, the process needs to be slowed down so that its backers can prove its point — and maybe come to a consensus among the schools that doesn’t leave the disenchanted lawyering up so early in the process. Slowing down the process doesn’t mean a vote now and delaying the start until next year. Rutgers has been around since 1766. Its place in New Jersey’s higher education world doesn’t need to be determined in a week.
I’m even more irreverent on Twitter @joe_arney.