Murphy in the Oval Office.

Murphy Publicly Unruffled by Neuwirth Firing – but O’Scanlan Says it Stinks

Regarding his firing of Christoper Neuwirth, assistant New Jersey Commissioner of Health for Public Health Infrastructure, Governor Phil Murphy brushed it off today at his press briefing in the War Memorial.

“I have no comment,” Murphy said.

He did note, regarding Neuwirth’s side work for national emergency management consulting firm Margolis Healy & Associates:

“Folks are not…it’s par for the course you’re not supposed to have another source of income,” the governor added of the fired assistant commish.

Conversely, Senator Declan O’Scanlon (R-11) had plenty to say about the sacked regular at Murphy’s

O’Scanlan

COVID press briefings, who oversaw EMS and the Office of Disaster Resilience.

“Vacancies and firings have plagued the department for three years, and it’s catching up to them. This firing may be very well justified and long overdue, but it begs the questions, who is the replacement to this extremely important position? Does this explain why the department hampered efforts at reform?

“Failure to disclose a conflict like that stinks of corruption,” the Monmouth-based senator added. “This needs to be investigated further and Neuwirth and the Department need to explain this. This chaos comes at a time when our Health Department is most needed – as we are managing a pandemic and headed into hurricane season.”

NJ.com reporter Brent Johnson pressed the governor on Neuwirth.

But Murphy dug in against reflecting publicly on the story.

“We don’t comment on personnel matters and we still don’t,” the governor said.

Callahan

Complex???

Governor Phil Murphy was probably cringing after giving the floor to Colonel Pat Callahan of the State Police, who saw fit to offer his views on the police killing of George Floyd.

“In-custody deaths are some of the most complex,” Callahan said. “Investigations need to be rooted in trasparency.”

Complex?

Not to deny due process, but this killing of a man on film doesn’t look like an especially tough one to crack, Colonel.

NJ.com reporter Brent Johnson hit Callahan with a question about whether New Jersey has safeguards in place to prevent police use of force demonstrable this week in Minneapolis, which resulted in the death of George Floyd.

“I’m unable to comment,” the cop said.

Rest in Peace, Former East Orange Mayor Cooke

Governor Phil Murphy this afternoon honored former East Orange Mayor, Thomas H. Cooke, Jr., who died on May 18 at the age of 90.

The City’s second African American-elected Mayor from 1978 to 1986, U.S. Navy veteran Mr. Cooke built a reputation as an advocate for public safety.

Please see Mayor Cooke’s full obituary here.

Phil Murphy

Today’s Daily Double

Horse racing will resume as early as next weekend, Governor Phil Murphy announced this afternoon.

Fans won’t be allowed back in the stands.

But online gaming is open and capable of taking gamers’ wages.

Report: ‘Woman Who Needs No Introduction’ Bothered by Shadowy Process

Check out these money graphs in a Sue Livio NJ.com story this afternoon:

Sharing the stage in the Trenton War Memorial each afternoon with Murphy, the commissioner goes through the daily numbers of the terrible toll being taken by COVID-19. The hospitalizations. The total patients on ventilators. The deaths in each county. And the dead coming out of the state’s nursing homes—where some 1 out of 13 residents have been taken in the deadly outbreak that spread out of control through New Jersey’s long-term care facilities.

But in the recording, Persichilli described terse exchanges with “George and Matt.” George Helmy is the governor’s chief of staff, and Matt Platkin serves as his chief counsel.

“The whole thing with this consultant. I told the governor, I said ‘Governor, I am not opposed to a consultant coming in. Call anyone you want. But do it the right way,’” Persichilli is heard saying. “George and Matt told me it was an appropriate process. And it wasn’t. And I wouldn’t sign it.”

 

POP and Hamm to Protest the Killing of George Floyd

The People’s Organization For Progress (POP) will protest the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Saturday, May 30th, 1 p.m. at the Lincoln statue, 12 Springfield Avenue in Newark.

According to POP, “Everyone who plans to participate is asked to wear a face mask and gloves, and we will ask you to practice social distancing at the protest. We plan to have masks at the protest for those who may need them.”

Lead organizer – and POP founder – Larry Hamm is also a progressive candidate for U.S. Senate.

The Third Law Firm on the List

President Donald J. Trump’s 2020 campaign has spent over half-a-million dollars into lawyers & legal fees in the last month alone, according to the Federal Elections Commission (FEC). According to researcher Anna Massoglia, “Trump is using donor money to spent unprecedented money on legal expenses—far more than any presidential campaign in history crp.org/tlglf.”

There is, of course, an overt New Jersey connection in the report. The third law firm on the list getting money from the Trump campaign is the Manhattan-based Larocca Hornik Rosen Greenberg & Blaha, where veteran Marlboro Mayor Jon Hornik, a Democra, is a partner.

There’s a history there, and some context.

According to a 2018 Patch story, “Trump’s long-time personal lawyer Michael Cohen has publicly confirmed the Trump team paid [Stormy] Daniels $130,000, according to the report. The Marlboro connection is that Cohen hired the law partner of Marlboro Mayor Jon Hornik to represent a company created by Trump’s personal attorney.

“Cohen created an entity, EC, LLC, which it used to pay Daniels the $130,000 in hush money, according to the Press. …Hornik later confirmed to Patch that his law partner, Larry Rosen, was retained to represent EC, LLC. Rosen represented the LLC in an arbitration case filed as ‘Peggy Peterson’ in California. Peggy Peterson has been revealed to be a pseudonym for Daniels.”

An upbeat, defiant, ebullient and feisty Governor Phil Murphy today continued to try to brand the NJ Legislature as a bubble of establishment brain trust rust, disconnected from real people and himself as a popular vanguard.

Paterson Political Pickle of the Week

An artful practitioner of politics, Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh finds himself in somewhat of a political pickle on the heels of the May 12th elections.

His candidates in two battleground wards unofficially lost to Sayegh opponents, sparking challenges to the outcomes of both contests.

The mayor would be hard-pressed, however, to advocate – as Paster Kenneth Clayton has – for a nullification of the election results based on all the alleged troubles with vote-by-mail (VBM) ballots.

That’s because Governor Phil Murphy – a key Sayegh ally – doesn’t want New Jersey to establish a precedent – particularly in a federal election year – for VBM elections troubles sufficient for a total re-do.

 

Native American Cultural Center Burned to the Ground

Insider iLine’s source on the ground in Minneapolis:

“A Native American Cultural Center was also burned to the ground.”

Mattia Decides not to Challenge Strumolo-Burke Win

Belleville First Ward challenger Carmine Mattia won’t pursue a challenge to the May 12th election won by incumbent Councilwoman Marie Strumolo-Burke.

“It wouldn’t be good for the town,” Mattia said. “But I’m definitely running in the future. I’m still here. In the end, we got 522-plus votes that no one thought we would get, and we laid a good foundation. We will build on that foundation.”

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