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Murphy Chief Counsel Matt Platkin. (Photo by Nikita Biryukov)

Platkin: I didn’t hire Alvarez

By Nikita Biryukov, January 18 2019 11:18 am

Gov. Phil Murphy’s Chief Counsel Matt Platkin on Friday told the Special Committee on Oversight that he was not the one to hire former Schools Development Authority chief of staff Al Alvarez.

Katie Brennan, chief of staff at the State Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, has accused Alvarez of sexually assaulting her in April, 2017, when they were both involved in Murphy’s gubernatorial campaign.

At the time, Brennan was a volumteer for the campaign. Alvarez then handled outreach to Muslim and Latino outreach for Murphy’s campaign.

Though numerous high-level officials from Murphy’s administration and transition teams have now testified before the committee, it’s still unclear who hired Alvarez.

Former Murphy chief of staff Pete Cammarano, Platkin and transition chief Jose Lozano have all said they did not hire Alvarez, who served as deputy director of personnel on the transition, and that they did not know who did.

On Friday, Platkin was cagey about who, among those that has not testified before the committee, might have the authority to hire Alvarez for a senior position at one of the state’s authorities. At first, he said he did not want to speculate on who could have made the hired. He did not address a follow-up question on the same matter.

He did say it was unlikely Murphy himself was involved in the hire, though he did not close the door on the possibility.

“The governor is not typically involved in hiring processes for authorities,” Platkin said.

Editor’s Note: this article has been updated to clarify Brennan’s and Alvarez’s relationips with Murphy campaign.

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