Home>Governor>Platkin, McKenna discussed Alvarez departure days after Brennan e-mailed governor

Charlie McKenna, a former chief counsel to Gov. Chris Christie, at a cabinet meeting at the Statehouse in Trenton, N.J. on March 1, 2012. (GOVERNOR'S OFFICE OFFICE)

Platkin, McKenna discussed Alvarez departure days after Brennan e-mailed governor

Text messages show McKenna told Alvarez to look for a new job

By David Wildstein, December 15 2018 10:44 am

Gov. Phil Murphy’s chief counsel moved to end Al Alvarez’s state government job soon after Katie Brennan e-mailed the governor requesting a meeting on June 1, 2018.

According to a text message exchange between Matt Platkin and Charles B. McKenna, Alvarez’s boss at the New Jersey Schools Development Authority, Alvarez was told to seek new employment.

The text messages, which were obtained by the New Jersey Globe, were from the morning on June 7, 2018.

Brennan told the New Jersey Legislative Select Oversight Committee last week that she informed Platkin that Alvarez had raped her during the 2017 gubernatorial campaign.

“Spoke with Al.  Told him I spoke to someone ‘well placed’ in the governor’s office.  I did tell him that the person told me he could call you, so expect him to reach out,” McKenna reported at 10:14 AM.

Alvarez was not told that Platkin and McKenna had spoken, and McKenna did not know the details of why the administration wanted Alvarez out because Platkin was bound by a confidentiality policy, according to a source who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

“Ok. Thank you.  How did he take it?” Platkin responded.

“He was calm.  He seemed to understand the situation and I think will begin to look,” McKenna said.  “I told him that I was told if it became public it could get ugly and my hand would be forced and it would not be a good situation which could affect is (sic) ability to move forward.  I suspect he gets it.

McKenna told Platkin that he expected Alvarez would call him.

“I’m sure he will because he knows my situation and that I don’t really speak for the administration.  He think (sic) he would want some affirmation of what I said. It’s what I would want before I took on life altering change.  I expect this was not what he was thinking when he came to work this morning,”

“OK.  Thank you.  I will let you know if he calls me,” Platkin told McKenna.  “But thank you for doing it.’

“No problem.  That’s why I get the big bucks,” McKenna wrote back.

At 5:50 PM, Platkin texted McKenna that he had spoken with Alvarez.

“I spoke to Al.  He was professional and will look for other employment,” Platkin said.

McKenna responded six minutes later.

“I spoke with him after he spoke to you, McKenna wrote.  “He really is a decent guy.”

Platkin, having not told McKenna the reason the administration wanted Alvarez out because of the confidentiality policy, told McKenna he “agreed.”

McKenna, a former federal prosecutor who served as chief counsel to Gov. Chris Christie, was replaced as executive director of the schools development authority in August by Lizette Delgado-Polanco, the vice chair of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee.

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