NJ Politics Digest: Murphy Defends Hiring Bribe-Taking Politician for $70K Post

Gov. Phil Murphy.

Gov. Phil Murphy. Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images for SiriusXM

A former Passaic councilman who served time for taking bribes now has a nicely paying state job and the full support of Gov. Phil Murphy, who says he’d like to see “a lot more of this.”

Marcellus Jackson resigned and went to prison after admitting to taking about $26,000 in bribes to help a company get insurance contracts, according to a report in The Record. He served 25 months in prison before being released in 2011.

He now has a job working for the state Department of Education as “Special Assistant in the Office of Civic and Social Engagement,” a post that pays $70,000 annually, the Record reports.

The Record notes that Jackson is connected to the Rev. Calvin McKinney, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Garfield, and one of Murphy’s earliest supporters.

On Tuesday, Murphy said he had no problem hiring the politician who has served his time, since he’s “repented” and paid his debt to society.

However, Republican Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi is pushing back against the governor’s choice. Schepisi said she supports second chances for former convicts, “but not when it comes to putting corrupt politicians in positions of public trust,” POLITICO reported.

Schepisi said she plans to introduce legislation that would prevent government officials convicted of corruption from holding government jobs.

News of Jackson’s hiring comes about a week after Murphy’s state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal touted his efforts to fight corruption by creating what he’s named the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability. In the widely covered announcement, Grewal said he wanted to build public confidence in government.

Quote of the Day: “I hope we see a lot more of this, that somebody made a mistake, they admitted it, they repented, they paid their price.” — Gov. Phil Murphy, on Tuesday, defended his administration’s hiring of a former Passaic councilman who was convicted of taking bribes.

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NJ Politics Digest: Murphy Defends Hiring Bribe-Taking Politician for $70K Post