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Murphy won’t discuss Neuwirth firing

Governor can’t say if other administration officials have second jobs

By David Wildstein, June 01 2020 4:02 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy still won’t acknowledge the termination of Assistant Commissioner of Health Christopher Neuwirth and said he didn’t know if any other senior administration officials have outside employment.

“I don’t have a good answer about anyone else who may have a second job, but there is a process and I don’t think I addressed it as crisply as I could have,” Murphy said.  “Someone has to declare themselves and seem basically an exemption or waiver.”

Neuwirth was the assistant commissioner of Public Health Infrastructure, Laboratories & Emergency Preparedness and oversaw emergency medical services and the state office of Disaster Resilience.   He also had a job with Margolis Healy & Associates, a national emergency management consulting firm affiliated with the Cozen O’Connor law firm.

The firm’s website lists Neuwirth as a senior associate and says he has been employed there for two years.  Personal financial disclosure statements Neuwirth filed with the State Ethics Commission did not reveal his affiliation with Margolis Healy.

Chief Counsel Matt Platkin said that there are certain classes of state employees who are not permitted to earn outside income and others who must get the approval of the State Ethics Commission.

Platkin said if the employee did receive approval, they would still have to disclose outside income on personal financial disclosures filed with the commission.

“That’s a general comment in terms of rules of the road and not specific to any one individual,” Murphy added.

Murphy could not say who is running Neuwirth’s department now.

“I’ve got no comment one way or the other on the vacancy at the Department of Health.  I assume the vacancy exists,” he said.

Neuwirth is among the officials the Murphy administration suspects of leaking confidential information to reporters, the Globe has independently verified through two administration sources.

That was first reported by The (Bergen) Record, a news site and newspaper formerly owned by Malcolm Borg, who pleaded guilty in 1986 to drunken driving after being arrested for driving erratically in Moonachie and in 2011 settled a lawsuit filed by a female employee who alleged that he repeatedly sent unwanted pornographic emails to her.

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