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During the transition phase of the Murphy Campaign, Al Alvarez chose the Schools Development Authority and the position of CEO as his job of choice in the new administration. It’s the number one person in the SDA for a salary of $225,000, one of the highest salaries of anyone in the State of New Jersey.
“I do believe we talked about my qualifications for SDA,” Alvarez reflected on at least two conversations with then-incoming Murphy Chief of Staff Peter Cammarano.
“By the time we spoke again, a decision was made that the current CEP would stay,” Alvarez added, during today’s cross-examination by attorney Mike Critchley.
During the transition, Jose Lozano – head of Murphy’s transition team – let him know the position of chief of staff would be available, Alvarez told Critchley.
“I had conversations with him,” Alvarez said of Lozano. “I disclosed to him I was interested in the SDA. A later conversation happened where he told me Mr. McKenna [the sitting SDA CEO] was going to stay.”
Was he interested in chief of staff instead?
Alvarez said yes.
Lozano advised him to speak to SDA CEO Charles McKenna.
This was mid to late December to January.
“At least two conversations,” Alvarez told Critchley of his contacts with Lozano. “He advised me that the CEO was going to continue and so that position was not available.”
So he eyed chief of staff at the SDA.
The approximate salary range was in the $140K’s.
Lozano and Alvarez have different versions of Alvarez’s SDA hiring.
Lozano said under oath that Alvarez told him he was going to be the SDA chief.
“You assume a position of chief of staff overseeing 11 to 12 billion in construction projects,” Critchley said. “Who hired you?”
“I was told if I was interested, I should talk to Mr. McKenna.”
“Mr. McKenna has testified under oath that he didn’t hire you.”
“I don’t know; that is not accurate. I received a letter from my immediate supervisor from Lynn Haines. The official letter was sent by Lynn Haynes.”
“Lynn Haynes has testified that the letter you received was a form letter not signed by her, but by auto pen,” said Critchley.