Home>Articles>Murphy declines to say if he wants Hou as permanent NJDMVA head

Gov. Phil Murphy. announces an agreement with legislative leaders to pass a millionaires tax and a middle-class tax rebate in September 2020. (Photo: Office of the Governor.)

Murphy declines to say if he wants Hou as permanent NJDMVA head

Governor suggests replacements for White, Rodriguez still in the works

By Nikita Biryukov, January 22 2021 3:06 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy on Friday declined to say whether seek to appoint Interim Adjutant General and acting Commissioner of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs Col. Lisa Hou to the positions permanently.

“I’m not going to talk about specific personnel matters in terms of where we are in the process,” Murphy said at the day’s virus briefing. “I would say this: Lisa is doing an outstanding job.”

Hou took the department’s top post in October after Major Gen. Jemal Beale resigned from the department’s top posts.

Beale’s resignation followed a public outcry over widespread deaths at some of the state veterans memorial homes. Hou, a physician and then the department’s deputy commissioner, was tapped to replace him.

She is the first woman and the first Asian American to lead the department.

Hou’s installment proceeded a spate of departures from the Murphy administration.

Most recently, Division of Consumer Affairs Director Paul Rodriguez and Vinn White, a top transportation policy advisor to Murphy, left state government to take jobs in President Joe Biden’s administration.

The governor suggested replacements for them haven’t yet been chosen.

“This is literally hot off the press in the last couple of days, so the team is on the field who will try to back and fill,” he said. “They’re both big losses. There’s no question about it, but we’ve been blessed with a great team and those teammates, for the time being at least, will step up and it’s always possible that somebody who’s already in the mix could be a candidate.”

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