By Laura Mortkowitz
After two decades of working on the budget in the state government, Rider alumnus David Rousseau was sworn in as New Jersey’s state treasurer on Jan. 16.
A graduate of Temple University, Rousseau came to Rider for his MBA. A life-long resident of Mercer County, Rousseau, 47, knew the University well and was dating his future wife, an employee of the school. He said he had a good relationship with the people at Rider because of this.
“Rider has a good reputation for an MBA program,” Rousseau said. “It had a part-time, nighttime program.”
His new position gives him more authority and managerial power over jobs he previously worked on as senior adviser to the governor for budget and fiscal policy and as deputy state treasurer. In these jobs Rousseau helped develop and implement the annual state budget and other fiscal policy issues, as well as provide policy guidance on taxation issues, and property tax relief and reform.
“Now I’m overseeing the entire operation, the entire Department of the Treasury that includes not only the budget operations but also the lottery [and] pensions,” he said. “So it’s a broader role than before.”
However, Rousseau is more than prepared for his new responsibilities with his previous experience. More than half of what he does now will be related to what he has been doing, and for the rest, he has staff to help keep things running smoothly, he said.
“I’ve been in Trenton, between the executive and legislative branch, for the past 20 years, so I know the issues dealing with the lottery [and] I know the issues dealing with procurement,” Rousseau said. “I know of all those issues because I’ve probably dealt with them at some point in time in my career.”
The biggest difference in his career is that he’s now a manager and runs a department of 3,700 employees.
Rousseau hopes that if the governor is re-elected in 2009, he will be asked to stay on as state treasurer, and Gov. Jon Corzine certainly seems to have high hopes for him.
“David is the consummate professional who has distinguished himself throughout the state government, and I am confident he will continue to do so as state treasurer,” Corzine said in a statement announcing his nomination of Rousseau on Jan. 11. “His expertise in fiscal matters will be a tremendous asset in the upcoming months as we implement a fundamental restructuring of New Jersey’s finances and see long-term solutions to the state’s fiscal matters.”
Rousseau is replacing Treasurer Michelline Davis who was acting more as an interim and led a search committee to help find a permanent replacement, said Tom Vince, spokesperson for the treasurer’s office.
Whenever Rousseau finishes his term as state treasurer, he doesn’t believe there are many places for him to go in New Jersey government. So, his future plans might include looking to the private sector or becoming involved with education.
“I’ve always had some interest in moving into some type of role in higher ed,” he said, “whether it’s a combination of teaching plus some administrative duties at a college.”