Murphy Staffer Accused of Sex Misconduct — Lawmakers Want Investigation
Another member of the Murphy administration has resigned under a cloud, this time after it was revealed that an accusation of sexual misconduct surfaced during the transition and when the governor took office.
Former Schools Development Authority Chief of Staff Albert J. Alvarez resigned suddenly last week. It turns out that a woman last year accused him of misconduct, according to Politico New Jersey. The report on Wednesday said Alvarez was investigated but that no criminal charges were brought against him.
Alvarez also served as director of Latino outreach during Murphy's campaign, according to his bio on the SDA's website, noting that he also worked on the transition team. Both the transition team and the Governor's Office also looked into the accusations, according to Politico. Murphy said on Tuesday he knew Alvarez had resigned, but had "no more color to offer," Politico quoted him as saying.
The resignation comes two weeks after former Passaic Councilman Marcellus Jackson resigned from his role as a special assistant with the Department of Education. Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said Jackson should not have been eligible for the position after pleading guilty to taking bribes during his time in office.
Murphy has continued to defended Jackson's hiring saying that people deserve a second chance.
Last week, meanwhile, Murphy suspended an aide who posted vulgar comments against "evangelicals" on Facebook.
Republicans on Thursday heaped criticism on Murphy and called for an investigation into the administration's hiring practices.
Two Republican women state senators and four Republican assemblywomen on Thursday signed a letter to Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, both Democrats, calling for a bipartisan legislative investigation.
"Despite knowing the nature of the allegations, the Murphy Administration allowed him to remain
in his position until resigning last week," the letter says.
The nature of these hires — one clearly illegal, the other morally reprehensible — leads to the appearance of a culture within the Murphy Administration that is more concerned with rewarding campaign supporters than serving the public interest.
"Even worse, the hiring of someone subject to a criminal sexual investigation harkens to the governor’s days at Goldman Sachs, which is reportedly the subject of a federal class action lawsuit by female employees who claim a culture of sexism and misogyny at the company."
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean, who serves on the Senate Legislative Oversight Committee, endorsed his party's call for an investigation.
“To preserve the public’s faith in our state government, we should hold legislative hearings to learn how the Governor’s hiring process broke down, and to determine if others were hired into the administration who shouldn’t be there," Kean said.