Gov. Phil Murphy declined to say who hired Jeffrey Dye, a Department of Labor official who was fired after the New Jersey Globe first reported he made a series of anti-Semitic and anti-Latino comments on social media.
“I’ve said all everything I’m going to say about that,” Murphy said when asked who hired Dye to the $56,088-a-year post he held before being separated from state government.
The Department of Labor announced Dye’s firing on Tuesday, one day after the New Jersey Globe reported on his statements.
Murphy had been publicly silent on Dye, who serves as president of the Passaic NAACP, but he issued a rebuke of Dye’s social media postings Thursday.
“Number one, the social media that I have been made aware of is incredibly offensive and incredibly inconsistent with my values. Period, not close,” Murphy told reporters during a press gaggle Thursday. “As a separate matter, he was relieved of his duty and told that his work was no longer required in the state.”
Dye’s hiring isn’t the first personnel scandal to plague Murphy’s administration.
The Democratic governor’s administration has faced fire over the hiring of Al Alvarez, the former chief of staff at the Schools Development Authority and over a series of potentially nepotistic hires made at the SDA. He was also forced to fire Marcellus Jackson, a state Education Department official who had served a prison sentence for accepting a bribe when he was a Passaic City councilman
Weeks of Select Committee hearings failed to definitely uncover who hired Alvarez, who was accused of sexual assault by State Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency chief of staff Katie Brennan, though the committee’s reports seated the blame with former Murphy chief of staff Pete Cammarano and Murphy transition chief Jose Lozano.
Lizette Delgado-Polanco, who was SDA CEO during a series of more than 30 hiring that followed a cull of longtime authority employees, lost her post after The Bergen Record reported on the questionable hires at the SDA.
Following an two audits on the authority’s hiring practices, 30 employees who were deemed to be patronage hires were let go.
Delgado-Polanco, who stepped down from her role as state Democratic vice-chair earlier this year, hired 27 of the 30 separated from government service at the SDA.
Unlike Alvarez and Delgado-Polanco, whose government jobs paid $170,000 and $225,000 respectively, Dye was a relatively low-level employee Murphy said.
“I have about 64,000 people who work for me. This was a low-level employee in the Department of Labor, so let’s just make sure everybody has that as a frame,” the governor said. “Secondly, without being specific to him, I want to make a general comment. I’ve said this before, and you’ve asked me questions about other folks. I want to be the state where people get a second chance. People, if they make reparations, if they make up for what they’ve done, I’d like to be the state where folks get a second chance, and I stand by that.”
Dye’s job paid $56,088 per year.
It’s not clear what Murphy’s administration is doing to stave off problematic hires.
The governor declined to comment on whether he believed his administration should examine the social media pages of prospective employees before hiring them.
“Again, I said all I’m going to say on this,” Murphy said. “I will say this: What I saw on social media from this particular individual, relative to my values, was completely offensive and unacceptable.”
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