Meet the New Boss

Olga Nini has served four governors during her eight years working at Drum-thwacket, the governor’s mansion in Princeton. She’ll get a new boss this month when Jon Corzine takes the oath of office at noon on the 17th.

You’ve been the residence manager for five years. What does the job involve?
Just about everything and anything. We handle events up to about 100 people with just 8 full-time staff. If the dishes need to be washed, you roll up your sleeves. Drumthwacket is essentially the White House of New Jersey, and I often make myself crazy with contingency preparations.

How has Drumthwacket differed under the various governors?
Whitman and DiFrancesco held breakfast meetings and evening events here, as well as let nonprofits use the home for fundraisers. But they lived in their own homes for the most part, as does our current governor. I actually see more of Mary Jo Codey. The level of activity during the McGreevey administration was at levels never seen in the home’s 170 years. Not only did the McGreeveys live here, but…McGreevey regularly had 600 to 800 guests at functions, and once had 2,000 here for the New Jersey Indian community.

How does the budget crunch affect Drumthwacket?
A few years back, we used Corrections [Department] labor to repair outdoor stairs. The project was so successful, we now exchange a wish list with the Department of Corrections commissioner.

What’s the most challenging part of the job?
Being on call at all times and having to think on your feet. The night of my husband’s 50th birthday, I got a call that a dinner for 15 needed to be ready within an hour.

It’s obvious from the pictures on your office wall that you’ve met quite a few people. Who was your favorite?
Christopher Reeve was incredible. With all he had to endure, he still managed to have a sense of humor and made you instantly feel at ease.

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