Two former state senators the CEO of the Economic Development Agency will testify at the Senate Select Committee on Economic Growth Strategies’ first hearing on Monday, according to a partial copy of the committee’s agenda obtained by the New Jersey Globe.
Former State Sens. Ray Lesniak and Joseph Kyrillos and EDA CEO Tim Sullivan will appear before the committee Monday following an opening statement, presumably from the committee’s chairman, State Sen. Bob Smith.
The preliminary agenda says former EDA CEO Melissa Orsen was due to testify, but a Senate source said she will not be appearing.
The committee will also take testimony from two panels on Monday
The first is a business panel featuring NJ Business and Industry Association President Michelle Siekerka, state Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Bracken, South Jersey Chamber of Commerce President Debra DiLorenzo and Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey President Anthony Russo.
The second panel is made up of construction union officials.
That panel will include Bill Mullen, president of the New Jersey Building and Construction Trades Council, A.J. Sabath, a former commissioner of labor and workforce development who now heads the lobbying firm Advocacy and Management Group.
Jack Kocics, CEO of the Association of Construction Contractors, will also appear on the latter panel.
Notably absent from the list of witnesses is South Jersey kingmaker George Norcross.
Several firms with connections to Norcross, including Cooper University Healthy Systems, whose board of trustees Norcross chairs, are at the center of the controversies surround the EDA’s tax incentives.
The task force convened by Gov. Phil Murphy to investigate abuses of the EDA’s programs cited oddities in tax incentive applications submitted by Cooper and three other Norcross-connected firms in their second public meeting.
Those oddities included conflicting claims about whether New Jersey jobs would disappear should the firms not receive an award, the size of which would be significantly increased if New Jersey jobs were at risk of leaving the state.
Earlier this week, Norcross sent a letter to legislative leaders asking to testify before committees conducting inquires into the EDA’s programs in each chamber of the legislature.
He said he wanted to “lift the clouds of suspicion” that had fallen on him and Camden firms following the release of the state’ Comptroller’s audits and the investigations it spawned.