TRENTON, N.J. – A 10-bill package addressing the findings by a legislative panel responsible for providing oversight and transparency of the administration’s hiring practices was cleared by the Assembly Appropriations Committee Tuesday and heads to the floor of the Assembly.
Assemblywomen Nancy Munoz (R-Union) and Eliana Pintor Marin (D-Essex), who are vice chair and chair of the Legislative Select Oversight Committee, sponsor the set of bills that expand requirements for the state to combat discrimination and harassment, streamline the employee compliant process, tackle deficiencies in hiring processes during a gubernatorial transition, and more.
The Legislative Select Oversight Committee convened in late October after allegations surfaced by Murphy campaign staffer Katie Brennan of rape against a member of the gubernatorial transition team who later held a senior position in the administration.
“After receiving hours of testimony from many involved in this matter, much of it conflicted and lacking a paper trail, I believe these bills are the next best steps for the Legislature to advance and prevent Ms. Brennan’s horrific experience from happening to someone else,” said Munoz. “It has become evident that there is more we can do to protect all state workers, especially those who are in transition to becoming a state employee.”
As it relates to gubernatorial transition staff, who are not considered state employees, the package includes bills to protect them from all forms of discrimination and harassment, and pay for background investigations of certain transition positions. In addition, applicants for state employment will have to disclose any previous or ongoing investigations.
“I am proud of the work we’ve done in the Legislative Select Oversight Committee over the last few months,” said Pintor Marin. “Our findings were clear. Ms. Brennan’s matter was grossly neglected and mishandled. We believe that should another victim come forward in the future, with regard to any gubernatorial transition committee for any governor, or someone employed by state government, there must be a road map of clear actions to follow to address it fairly and quickly. This bill package will begin to right the wrongs we discovered through our investigation.”
The handling of complaints would also be addressed with expanded training for certain public employees, and requirements regarding disclosure and review.
In addition, the bills direct the Civil Service Commission to manage human resources in the Schools Development Authority. The commission would also be required to document all hires and monitor standards for recruitment, selection, hiring, and employee records, as well as operate a hotline for state employees to report discrimination and harassment.