Gloucester County Freeholder Director Stephen Sweeney will step down from the board at the end of this week, he announced on Wednesday.
Sweeney, who also is president of the State Senate, has served as acting governor this week while Gov. Christie and Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno have been on vacation. His resignation, which takes effect on Friday, ends 14 years on the freeholder board, 13 of them as its director.
"My schedule is, obviously, intense," Sweeney, a Democrat, said on Wednesday. "The responsibility of being president of the Senate, which takes me all over the state, was just an enormous amount of work for me."
"I can't do everything all the time," said the 51-year-old West Deptford resident, adding that he would be up for re-election as freeholder and state senator next year if he had not stepped down.
"I never dreamed that I would leave [the board], but I never dreamed that I would become Senate president either," he said.
In addition to his political work, Sweeney holds a full-time job at Ironworkers Union Local 399 and was recently diagnosed with diabetes.
"My schedule being . . . as packed as it is wasn't helping my health condition," he said, noting that he sometimes goes all day without eating.
But Sweeney said he would not urge the Legislature's nine other dual officeholders to follow his lead. Gov. Christie has pressed for law that would ban such a practice among New Jersey senators and members of the assembly.
"I believe in the voters' right to choose who they want to serve them," Sweeney said.
Robert Damminger, who is deputy director of the freeholder board, will succeed Sweeney as director.
Contact staff writer Maya Rao at 856-779-3220 or firstname.lastname@example.org