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Gov. Phil Murphy. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe)

Murphy: Schools Development Authority’s future “an open question”

By Nikita Biryukov, June 09 2021 3:11 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy acknowledged the haze surrounding Schools Development Authority’s future Wednesday after a state watchdog report found waste, mismanagement and lax oversight at the authority.

“Still an open question as to what the future looks like. I know where the Senate President has been,” he said at Wednesday’s virus briefing. “I respect his position, and I think we all, having said that, agree on the need of the mission. How that mission is actually prosecuted going forward is to be determined.”

Sweeney last week said he would not fund the SDA, which is tasked with building and maintain schools in the state’s poorest districts.

A report released last week by the State Commission of Investigation found “numerous shoddy school construction projects,” costly errors and repeated failures in the authority’s oversight of its contractors.

The SDA has long been regarded as a patronage pit, and the authority’s proclivity for questionable hires was drawn into sharp relief in 2019, when The Bergen Record reported then-CEO Lizette Delgado Polanco culled longtime authority employees and replaced them with friends and families who frequently lacked qualifications for their new posts.

Delgado Polanco resigned over the reports in April 2019 and was also pushed out of her position as vice chair of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee.

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