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Acting New Jersey Commissioner of Human Services Sarah Adelman. (Photo: Sarah Adelman).

Murphy will nominate permanent replacements for vacant cabinet posts

By David Wildstein, December 30 2020 4:06 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy plans to nominate permanent replacements to fill three vacant positions in his cabinet but declined to reveal his timeline.

“That is our intention, as always,” Murphy said about naming cabinet members before the expiration of his current term.  “Having permanent leadership is absolutely our objective.”

Unless Murphy and the State Senate move quickly, 6 of the 18 cabinet posts subject to Senate confirmation will be held by interim appointees.

Murphy announced that Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson would leave next month to take a senior post in the Biden administration.   Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine McCabe is also stepping down in January.

The governor said that deputy Human Services Commissioner Sarah Adelman would run the department for now.

“We are blessed with really strong benches,” Murphy said.

The Adjutant General/Commissioner of Military and Veterans Affairs post has been vacant since October, when Gen. Jemal Beale resigned under pressure.  An acting commissioner is in place.

Murphy nominated Brian Bridges to serve as Secretary of Higher Education in October, four months after announcing that Zakiya Smith Ellis would depart to become his chief policy advisor.

The Senate has also not moved to confirm Murphy’s picks of Angelica Allen-McMillan to serve as Commissioner of Education, and Kevin Walsh as State Comptroller.  Both are currently in place on an interim basis awaiting confirmation.

Murphy named Allen-McMillan in October to replace Lamont Repollet.  He left in July to become president of Kean University.  Walsh was nominated in January 2020, more than 11 months ago.

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