TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz fears that NJ Transit may be the new School Development Authority.
A few days after two lengthy reviews of the hiring practices under former SDA Chief Executive Officer Lizette Delgado-Polanco, a New Jersey Globe story on Thursday evening detailed how politically connected hires at NJ Transit were given huge salary raises after a restructuring involving the elimination of other positions.
“There seems to be a pattern within the Murphy administration where semi-public agencies are used as patronage pits,” said Munoz (R-Union). “Murphy promised to remove political patronage at the agency, but now he is giving his patronage hires fat pay hikes all while the agency continues to fail.”
Cancellations and delays continue to plague New Jersey’s rail commuters a year after similar issues led Murphy to vow to fix the problem. New Jersey Transit says 373 trains were canceled in June, a 52 percent increase from a year ago.
Munoz, a member of the Assembly Budget Committee, pointed out that Murphy proposed adding only $25 million to Transit’s 2020 operating budget – a mere 1.1 percent increase while giving out pay hikes over 20 percent to its politically-connected executives.
“Murphy doesn’t seem to have commuters’ backs or the backs of anyone else who works at NJ Transit unless they are part of his political machine,” continued Munoz. “As employees leave for more lucrative, better-paying positions at other commuter railroads, why is Murphy focused on raising the salaries of its executives?”