Home>Highlight>NJ Transit pay hikes show pattern of patronage pits, Munoz says

Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz (R-Summit). Photo by Nikita Biryukov for thew New Jersey Globe.

NJ Transit pay hikes show pattern of patronage pits, Munoz says

Eight top transportation executives given huge raises

By Nikita Biryukov, July 26 2019 11:09 am

Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz sounded alarms over salary hikes doled out to NJ Transit officials appointed by Gov. Phil Murphy.

“There seems to be a pattern within the Murphy administration where semi-public agencies are used as patronage pits,” Munoz said. “Murphy promised to remove political patronage at the agency, but now he is giving his patronage hires fat pay hikes all while the agency continues to fail.”

On Thursday, the New Jersey Globe reported eight top executives at NJ Transit were given large raises amidst continued delays and cancellations plaguing New Jersey commuters.

Justin Davis, a longtime Senate aide to former Gov. Dick Codey who also worked on Murphy’s campaign, saw his pay rise 21%, from $156,000 to $188,000. Davis, who was hired on as the agency’s chief of staff, retains that role but is now also senior vice president for regulatory and government affairs.

Former Gov. Chris Christie faced criticism for similar salary hikes doled out to political appointees at the agency, but Davis’s salary far exceeds those of his two Christie-appointed predecessors.

NJ Transit spokesperson Nancy Snyder told the New Jersey Globe the raises were a result of a restructuring at the agency. The raises were funded by the elimination of other senior staff positions.

The revelation over pay hikes comes on the heels of a cull at the Schools Development Authority.

Former CEO Lizette Delgado Polanco, who was vice chair of the State Democratic Committee at the time, resigned from both posts over backlash related to her hiring of family members and individuals with which she had political connections.

NJ Transit is more public-facing than the SDA, and commuters are already dissatisfied with the cancellations and delays that plague the transportation network.

The agency said 373 trains were cancelled in June as a result of staffing shortages and congested tunnels headed into New York.

“Murphy doesn’t seem to have commuters’ backs, or the backs of anyone else who works at NJ Transit unless they are part of his political machine,” Munoz said. “As employees leave for more lucrative, better paying positions at other commuter railroads, why is Murphy focused on raising the salaries of its executives?”

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