Despite broad-shouldered push-back by the President of the NJ Building Trades, the Board of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority this morning was expected to move forward with the ratification of Tim Sullivan as the new EDA director.
The Board’s move represented a win – with some caveats – for Governor Phil Murphy, who picked Sullivan, who subsequently fell under Mullen’s reproving gaze as someone with a tarnished prevailing wage work history on his last job in Connecticut.
Sources told InsiderNJ that board members met with Sullivan and by and large liked him, and came to the conclusion that Murphy backs prevailing wage, and Sullivan will fold into line with the Governor.
The outcome for Sullivan came in the face of choppy political weather, which included a Building Trades conference call wherein Mullen doubled down on his doubts about Murphy’s EDA pick. Mullen, of course, is a close ally of Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3), who remains at odds with Murphy for a variety of reasons.
A Sweeney ally was reluctant to pin a blue ribbon on Murphy.
“Ehh,” the source groaned. “If they did the politics right they wouldn’t have to do mop up work like this. They wouldn’t have to call [board members] Louis Goetting, Phil Alagia and Bill Layton to have Sullivan sit-down sessions. This all should have been done. This is a wake up call to Murphy world. Get it right. The fact that Billy Mullen wrote that initial letter at all was a self-inflicted wound.
“It’s a warning shot by Billy and Steve,” the source added. “They’ll be watching for slip ups.”
But a source close to Murphy digested the Sullivan win differently.
“Look, they picked a fight, and Murphy won,” the source said.