Lizette Delgado-Polanco’s resignation as the Schools Development Authority CEO came hours after Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee chairman Paul Sarlo threatened to pull her invitation to appear before his committee next week.
Sarlo told the embattled Murphy administration official that he was concerned that she would evade answering questions about hiring and firing decisions as she did before the Assembly Budget committee earlier this month, according to a letter to Delgado-Polanco obtained by the New Jersey Globe.
“I am deeply concerned about your inability to answer these basic questions given the amount of taxpayer dollars that have been entrusted to your care and the responsibilities that have been placed under the authority’s supervision,” Sarlo wrote, noting that his committee plays an important oversight role in the annual appropriation of funds to the SDA. “Now more than ever, the Committee is entitled to complete answers related to your recent restructuring of the organization due to the authority’s need for additional funding in the near future.”
Delgado-Polanco’s testimony was not headed in a good direction for the Murphy administration. Senate President Steve Sweeney and Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg were planning to join the committee for the purpose of questioning Delgado-Polanco.
In her April 10 appearance before the Assembly budget panel, Delgado-Polanco declined to answer personnel questions, citing litigation and advice of counsel.
Sarlo said that questions of how staffing levels of the authority are related to their budget request and anticipated capital projects would need to be addressed by her.
“Because the administrative and operational costs of the authority are currently paid with bond proceeds, the Legislature must confirm taxpayer dollars are being spent in the most effective and fiscally responsible manner possible,” Sarlo said.
Sarlo told Delgado-Polanco that she would need to let his committee know before the April 30 hearing “if the current investigations that limit your ability to answer these questions have concluded.
“If not, I will reschedule your appearance at such time as you have full authority to answer all questions and can engage with our members in an open and honest dialogue about the future of the authority,” Sarlo wrote.
Sarlo gave a heads up to Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration last night, sources told the Globe, but Delgado-Polanco did not receive a copy of the letter until 3:10 PM today, after she had already tendered her resignation.Sarlo to Delgado-Polanco April 23 2019