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Chief of Staff Pete Cammarano (GOVERNOR'S OFFICE PHOTO)

Cammarano to resign as Murphy chief of staff

Departure date is unclear, sources say

By David Wildstein, December 07 2018 11:14 am

Pete Cammarano has told several top Democrats that he will leave his job as chief of staff to Gov. Phil Murphy, according to four sources with knowledge of Cammarano’s plans.

There is no confirmation on Cammarano’s departure date, which he reportedly described to those he spoke with as sooner rather than later.

But Cammarano has made it clear that he is out, probably within the next month or two.

The expected departure comes after a tough first year for Murphy, who has a turbulent relationship with top Democratic legislative leaders and key Democratic county chairman.

Murphy and his fellow Democrats struggled to agree on a state budget, reaching a deal the day before state government was set to shut down.

The Murphy administration now faces a legislative inquiry over their hiring practices following allegations that Al Alvarez, a onetime campaign staffer who was hired for a top state government post, sexually assaulted another administration official during the 2017 gubernatorial campaign.

Still, Murphy’s approval ratings remain high.

The governor is presently mulling options for a Cammarano replacement.  While some believe he should look for a Trenton insider who can forge a relationship with Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, it’s possible that Murphy could bring in someone from the private sector or a former Obama administration official.

Cammarano, 54, left his lobbying firm and resigned as mayor of Metuchen to join the new governor’s staff last January.  He had been chief of staff to Gov. Richard Codey from 2004 to 2006.

A senior administration official, who spoke on anonymity, told the New Jersey Globe that Cammarano has not resigned and remains as the chief of staff to the governor.

This story was updated at 1:00 PM.

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