Republican lawmakers push for investigation of nepotistic hiring practices at Schools Development Authority

Republican lawmakers push for investigation of nepotistic hiring practices at Schools Development Authority

Nancy F. Munoz

TRENTON, N.J. – A legislative panel charged with investigating the hiring practices of the Murphy administration is receiving pressure from Assemblywomen Nancy F. Munoz, Holly Schepisi and BettyLou DeCroce to investigate allegations on nepotism at the Schools Development Authority.

In a letter to the chairwomen of the Select Oversight Committee, the Republican lawmakers requested a hearing to address the recent firing of 26 veteran S.D.A. employees and hiring of 38 new people, many of whom have personal relationships with Gov. Phil Murphy’s top staff.

“The SDA’s chief executive officer testified that she was aware of the authority’s nepotism policy and hiring protocol, but based on the reports, it does not appear either was followed,” said Munoz (R-Union).

The legislative committee is responsible for providing oversight and transparency of administration hiring practices, which includes examining all aspects of the screening of prospective employees in state government and continued employment in the public sector of persons with questionable backgrounds.

Holly Schepisi

“In her testimony to the committee in January, Lizette Delgado-Polanco said that she had no reason to terminate any of the S.D.A employees because they were doing a good job,” said Schepisi (R-Bergen). “So why did well-performing employees lose their jobs when another person, who deserved to be fired, stay employed? Why is it okay to hire employees based on personal relationships rather than professional skills?”

About half of the new hires are making six-figure salaries. According to recent reports, all the new hires take home about $3.3 million in taxpayer-funded salaries.

“Multiple new hires are family or close personal friends of Delgado-Polanco,” said DeCroce (R-Morris). “We believe that an investigation by the committee is a hundred percent warranted.”

BettyLou DeCroce

From replacing tenured staff with individuals related to current authority leadership, to a series of unplanned raises, to the hiring of a former chief of staff who had been accused of rape, the Schools Development Authority under the Murphy administration has been riddled with trouble.

Democrats Sen. Loretta Weinberg and Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin are the chairwomen of the Select Oversight Committee. The Republican Assembly Whip, Munoz, serves as co-vice-chair and Schepisi and DeCroce are members of the committee.

To read a copy of the letter, visit njassemblyrepublicans.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/20190227-letterSCIinvestigation.pdf.