Jeffrey Dye was hired by a member of Gov. Phil Murphy’s cabinet, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development said today.
“The Labor Commissioner hired Mr. Dye. The Labor Commissioner was unaware of Mr. Dye’s social media posts at the time of hire,” said Angela Delli Santi, a spokesperson for the department.
Dye was fired from his $56,088-a-year post as the department’s business representative in Passaic County on Tuesday after anti-Semitic and anti-Latino comments he made on Facebook became public.
Earlier today, Murphy refused to identify who hired Dye.
The commissioner, Rob Asaro-Angelo, a labor leader and former executive director of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee, appears to be stepping up to take taking responsibility for a hire that originated from the governor’s team.
Sources with knowledge of Dye’s hiring said that Rev. Kenneth Clayton, the pastor of St. Luke Baptist Church in Paterson, pushed the administration to get a job for Dye, the president of the Passaic NAACP and a supporter of Murphy’s 2017 gubernatorial campaign.
Clayton has not responded to messages left at his office over the past several days.
Assemblyman Gary Schaer (D-Passaic), a strong critic of Dye, weighed in directly with the governor in opposition to the hire. So did Murphy’s deputy chief of staff, Justin Braz, Schaer’s former chief of staff.
Dye’s past (criminal offenses) surfaced in a background check, but not social media posts that began long before he was hired by the Labor department.
Delli Santi declined to say if the department looks at social media posts when they conduct background checks on potential hires, or who at the Labor department conducts those checks.
“At the end of the day, this is a personnel matter, and as such, we cannot comment further,” Delli Santi said.