TRENTON, N.J. – The Murphy Administration’s decision to hire a former Passaic councilman convicted (and imprisoned) for bribery is raising eyebrows and has one Bergen County legislator speaking out.
“I believe in second chances, but not when it comes to putting corrupt politicians in positions of public trust,” said Asw. Holly Schepisi (R-39) on Tuesday. “This is a case about public bribery.”
Schepisi says he’s planning to introduce legislation designed to ban public officials convicted of corruption-related crimes from holding public jobs in either state or local government.
“I don’t think that when the Legislature banned corrupt public officials from ever holding office again anyone imagined a governor would hire one to work for government,” added Schepisi.
Former Passaic City Councilman Marcellus Jackson plead guilty to attempted extortion following a state-wide sting operation — “Operation Broken Records” — executed during Chris Christie’s U.S. Attorney tenure. Jackson admitted accepting $26,000 as a quid pro quo for influencing the fate of public insurance contracts; he was sentenced to 25 months in a federal facility.
He’ll now work for the N.J. Department of Education with an annual salary of $70,000.
16 days before Jackson assumed his new role? A law went into effect which bars convicted criminals from running for seats on any of New Jersey’s boards of education.
“This just goes to show that this administration is more concerned about their friends than who is best fit to hold a position,” continued Schepisi. “The administration decided not to hire Paula White, who is extremely qualified, because she doesn’t get along with the N.J.E.A. Yet, they hire someone who is utterly disqualified even though he is corruptible. The theme here is that this administration does not hire based on merit. It hires bases on friendships. That doesn’t do well to serve New Jersey.”