The Assembly Republican cohort of the Select Committee on Oversight are pushing for the panel to investigate whether or not Schools Development Authority CEO Lizette Delgado-Polanco violated the authority’s nepotism and hiring policies.
“The SDA’s chief executive officer testified that she was aware of the authority’s nepotism policy and hiring protocol, but based on the reports, it does not appear either was followed,” said Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz (R-Union).
Munoz is one of the committee’s vice chairs.
The Bergen Record on Monday reported that a slew of people close to Delgado-Polanco were hired to jobs at the SDA.
“Multiple new hires are family or close personal friends of Delgado-Polanco,” Assemblywoman Betty Lou DeCroce (R-Morris) said. “We believe that an investigation by the committee is a hundred percent warranted.”
Though the panel’s enabling legislation could give it authority to investigate other hires at the SDA, it’s not likely that the committee will take the matter up.
For one, the committee is preparing to wind down, and while co-chairs Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin and Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg have not ruled out holding further hearings or calling additional witnesses, Pintor Marin has also said the hearing the body held on Tuesday could be its last.
Budget season is fast approaching, and because of Pintor Marin’s role as Assembly Budget Committee chairwoman, there’s pressure for the committee to finish its work quickly.
Delgado-Polance is also vice chairwoman of the Democratic State Committee, meaning that an investigation into her practices at the SDA could stir up conflict with Gov. Phil Murphy, with whom the state party is aligned.
“In her testimony to the committee in January, Lizette Delgado-Polanco said that she had no reason to terminate any of the S.D.A employees because they were doing a good job,” said Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi (R-Bergen). “So why did well-performing employees lose their jobs when another person, who deserved to be fired, stay employed? Why is it okay to hire employees based on personal relationships rather than professional skills?”