NJ Politics Digest: Another Hiring Scandal Hits Murphy Team

Lizette Delgado-Polanco.
Lizette Delgado-Polanco. Max Pizarro for Observer

The state Schools Development Authority is already known as the place where a top staffer of the Murphy campaign was given a high-paying state job after being accused of raping a campaign volunteer.

Now, reporting by The Record of Bergen County has shown how the politically connected head of the state agency, Lizette Delgado-Polanco, allegedly fired long-time employees to give her own relatives and associates high-paying slots on the state payroll.

The report details how Ms. Delgado-Polanco seems to have used her post as SDA Chief Executive Officer to allegedly fire dozens of staffers over the last six months and replace them with friends and relatives earning a total of $3.3 million, according to a report by NJ101.5.

Murphy, who refuses to name who hired Al Alvarez for his $140,000-per-year post at the agency after he was accused of rape, now says he’s “trying to figure out” what is going on in the agency.

Murphy claims his administration was looking into the agency’s hiring practices before the Record report gave his administration another black eye.

Delgado-Polanco is a prominent Murphy supporter and vice chair of the state Democratic Party. Her post at the SDA pays $225,000 annually—more than the governor’s salary. Her hires have included 33 people, many with ties to her, including 10 whose salaries reach as high as $170,000 annually. The hires include the mother of Delgado-Polanco’s grandson, who earns $110,000, NJ.com reports.

Quote of the Day: “It’s money we don’t have. Here we are adding to the pile of money we don’t have,” — State Sen. Declan O’Scanlon, on the impact on state and local government budgets of the Democrats’ plan to raise the state minimum wage to $15 per hour.

Editorial: Patronage on Steroids at State Agency
To the winners go the spoils. When it comes to New Jersey government, we have come to expect nothing less.
Asbury Park Press Read more

Report: Hudson Rail Tunnel Shutdown Could Hit North Jersey Property Values, Tax Revenues
The shutdown of one of the two tracks in the Hudson River train tunnel to New York Penn Station for needed repairs could reduce property values in New Jersey counties by as much as a combined $22 billion, according to an analysis by the Regional Plan Association.
The Record Read more

Moran: What Was Christie’s Worst Mistake? Hint: It’s Not Bridgegate.
Chris Christie will always be remembered for the Bridgegate scandal, the stupidity of the stunt and for the lies he told that were definitively exposed during the federal trial.
NJ.com Read more

Tax Revenues Are Coming Slower Than Murphy Anticipated
With New Jersey tax collections growing at less than half the rate forecasted by Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration, a Wall Street ratings analyst says there’s reason to be worried the state budget may not take in enough cash for the rest of the fiscal year.
NJ.com Read more

NJ Will Raise the Minimum Wage to $15. What Will It Cost Taxpayers?
The lifeguards and visitors guides at state parks. The entry-level employees at the county animal shelter. The interns at your local library. They’re all about to get pay raises, and it’s going to cost taxpayers one way or another.
NJ.com Read more

Abandoning His appeals, Bill Baroni Will Go to Prison for His Role in Bridgegate Plot
Bill Baroni just wants to move on with his life. His next stop will be a federal prison cell.
NJ.com Read more

Congestion Pricing: What NYC Subway Fix Means for NJ Drivers
By December 2020, drivers entering Manhattan’s core will pay a congestion fee, according to a plan announced Tuesday by New York Gov. Mario Cuomo and New York Mayor Bill De Blasio.
The Record Read more

After Push by Gov. Murphy, NJ Transit Will Give a Date by Week’s End for Atlantic City Rail Line to Resume Service
Gov. Phil Murphy on Tuesday said he has instructed New Jersey Transit executive director Kevin Corbett to say this week—not “in three weeks,” as Corbett told angry riders last Thursday—when the suspended Atlantic City and Princeton rail lines will resume service.
Inquirer Read more

‘Keep Your Mouths Shut’ About Uncounted Ballots, County Workers Say They Were Told
A Salem County employee claims she found months-old uncounted provisional ballots, but when she alerted her boss, she was told to keep quiet. When she didn’t, she claims she was fired.
NJ.com Read more

If Politicians Don’t Do the Hard Work, NJ Faces Economic Decline, More Taxes, Former Dem Leader Says
There is a strong argument that our unwillingness to deal with structural imbalances in our state budget is affecting the standard of living in New Jersey.
NJ.com Read more

Invasion of the ‘Zombie Deer?’ Not Quite, but Be on the Lookout for Diseased Bucks and Does
New Jersey officials are asking hikers and hunters alike to be on the lookout this year for deer behaving unusually because they may be infected with a fatal disease that gives them a zombie-like appearance.
The Record Read more

Super Pooper: NJ Must Investigate Holmdel Cops
The former superintendent of Kenilworth schools who drew national attention when charged with defecating on the Holmdel High School athletic field has asked the New Jersey Attorney General to investigate the Holmdel police for photographing him and releasing his mug shot.
Asbury Park Press Read more

NJ Mayor Gets $50K Pay Increase—and Maybe $30K More
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka will earn another $50,000 a year, boosting his salary to $180,000 after the city council on Tuesday approved pay increases for him and his top administrators.
NJ.com Read more

These Leonia Residents Are Fighting to Save Their Homes, Businesses From Being Condemned
When Marlene Bruno received a letter last month from Leonia’s planning official stating that her property is being considered for condemnation, she was shocked.
The Record Read more NJ Politics Digest: Another Hiring Scandal Hits Murphy Team