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Charlie McKenna, a former chief counsel to Gov. Chris Christie, at a cabinet meeting at the Statehouse in Trenton, N.J. on March 1, 2012. (GOVERNOR'S OFFICE OFFICE)

McKenna still on at NJSDC

By David Wildstein, January 17 2018 4:18 pm

One day into Phil Murphy’s term as Governor, former Christie Chief Counsel remains in his $225,000-a-year position as Chief Executive Officer of the New Jersey Schools Development Corporation.

McKenna spent eighteen years as a federal prosecutor before being named Director of the New Jersey State Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness.  He is not very political, but insiders say his close ties to Christie make him an unlikely candidate to stay on.

The new governor will have little trouble taking over the NJSDC.  The State Treasurer, the commissioners of Community Affairs and Education, and the CEO of the Economic Development Corporation serve on the board.

Christie left office with three vacant seats on the NJSDC.  Of the remaining members, three are labor leaders who backed Murphy:  New Jersey Regional Council of Carpenters Executive Secretary-Treasurer Michel Capelli; Kevin Egan of I.B.E.W. Local 456; and Michael Maloney, the Mercer County Central Labor Council president and the Business Manager of Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 9.

Two other board members likely to back up Murphy: Rob Nixon, a Republican and the Director of Government Affairs for the New Jersey PBA; and Mario Vargas, a Democrat.

Murphy did request the resignation of Melissa Orsen, the head of the EDA.  Murphy’s website reflects a vacancy in that post.

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