GOP lawmakers fume as Murphy administration absent (again) at hearing

GOP lawmakers fume as Murphy administration absent (again) at hearing

TRENTON, N.J. – Five Republican lawmakers expressed frustration Wednesday after the Murphy administration did not testify during Assembly hearings examining the response of utility companies to massive power outages during Tropical Storm Isaias.

“It’s unconscionable for any administration to refuse to answer questions from constituents who have reached out to us, their representatives, for help,” the lawmakers said in a joint statement.  “This is unacceptable.”

Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso and Assemblymen Brian Bergen, Edward Thomson Antwan McClellan and Greg McGuckin issued the statement following a four-hour long joint hearing of the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities and Homeland Security committees.

Joseph L. Fiordaliso, president of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, and Jared Maples, director of the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, were invited to testify but did not attend the hearing conducted on Zoom.

The Murphy administration also skipped legislative hearings on how it handled nursing homes in pandemic in June as well as several hearings focused on health care and businesses during the pandemic.

“Sadly the Administration continually refuses to appear before the Legislature as we conduct our constitutionally required job of oversight,” the statement continued.  “It would not be surprising if the administration were hiding something because lack of transparency has become a chronic problem.

The lawmakers said they plan to follow up with letters to the Board of Public Utilities and the Office of Homeland Security to demand answers to important questions that concern their constituents.