The state Department of Labor and Workforce Development conducted a background check on Jeffrey Dye and was aware of issues in his past unrelated to his social media posts.
Dye was fired yesterday after the New Jersey Globe first reported statements he made about Jews and Latinos on his Facebook page.
“The Department conducted a standard background check before Mr. Dye began employment in February of 2019,” said Angela Delli Santi, a spokesperson for the Labor department. “The Commissioner was aware of Mr. Dye’s past offenses but believes that the Department must lead by example when it comes to hiring people with imperfect pasts. Mr. Dye was hired as a provisional civil service employee.”
The Murphy administration hired Dye despite protests from Assemblyman Gary Schaer (D-Passaic) and Gov. Phil Murphy’s deputy chief of staff, Justin Braz, sources told the Globe.
“I’m shocked the governor ignored the advice of respected Assemblyman Gary Schaer who told him not to give him a job.”
The Globe has learned that Dye was recommended for the post by Rev. Kenneth Clayton, a Paterson minister.
The governor was told of objections to Dye, the Passaic NAACP president and five-time unsuccessful candidate for local office, the sources said.
Dye had pleaded guilty to cocaine possession in 1995, aggravated assault in 2007, and had been charged but not indicted on burglary, criminal mischief, making terroristic threats and resisting arrest.
Dye’s past offenses were first reported by The (Bergen) Record, an online news site and newspaper formerly run by Malcolm Borg, who pleaded guilty in 1986 to drunken driving after being arrested for driving erratically in Moonachie.
Delli Santi said Dye “was hired by the Department of Labor based on his outreach skills, extensive community contacts and experience in job training and placement programs.”
“Through our Department, the state and federal government provides millions of dollars in grant funds to help ex-offenders return to the workforce and funds to help recovering opioid users obtain meaningful work. Job training, retraining and skills development are core parts of our mission,” Delli Santi said.
This story was updated at 7:14 PM.