Democratic State Committee vice chair Lizette Delgado-Polanco isn’t apologizing for a series of potentially nepotistic hires at the Schools Development Authority.
“Because you’re not hearing from me, that doesn’t mean that I’ve done anything wrong,” Delgado-Polanco, who is the authority’s CEO, told state committee members Tuesday. “What I’m trying to do is level the playing field so people can actually participate in the communities they live. I am a true Democrat, thorough, and I am all about fairness and equality and inclusion and diversity, and I am not going to apologize here or to anyone about how I feel.”
Last month, The Bergen Record reported that, after Delgado-Polanco took over the Authority in August, a series of individuals with personal or professional connections to Delgado-Polanco were brought on to the agency, in some cases replacing existing employees.
The Select Committee on Oversight is considering expanding its investigation into the hiring of former SDA chief of staff Al Alvarez to include the potentially nepotistic hires.
But, while coverage of the hires may have left bruises on Delgado-Polanco’s public image, it’s done little to undercut her support among state party leaders.
Democratic State Chairman John Currie said he was still fully behind his second-in-command.
“I’m 100% behind Lizette,” Currie said. “Lizette and I have been friends for over 20 years … In many respects, she’s getting an unfair, bad rep because she’s done nothing different than any other change of administration has done, and if you go back and check the record, you’ll see that’s the fact.”
Gov. Phil Murphy, who spoke at Tuesday’s convention, also indicated that he was still backing Delgado-Polanco, though he did so less forcefully than Currie.
“Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you for your leadership of the party, for your friendship, for your support,” Murphy said. “Madame vice chairwoman, ditto. Honored to be here with you as well.”
The convention comes as Democrats prepare themselves for the year’s wave of Assembly elections and for races up and down the ballot next year.
But, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, whose name is on the lips of most of the state’s Democrats as a candidate for president, was not mentioned.