Assailed by black minister critics amid a brewing countywide higher education controversy, Dr. Joyce Wilson Harley and her supporters this evening punched back outside the Essex County government complex with a prayer vigil near the Rosa Parks Statue.
The vice president of the institution, Harley has been scrapping with College Prez. Dr. Anthony E. Munroe amid challenges by her critics that she is seeking to undermine him to take over the college and empower those countywide allies of powerful Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo. Munroe supplanted Dr. Gale Gibson earlier this year after a financial probe upended her. Late last month, steamed by what they see as the politicization of the college and the college board’s refusal to implement reforms, the ministers demanded the resignations of board members and of Harley, who heads up administration and finance. They also called upon the state Attorney General’s Office and the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the institution’s finances, according to this NJ.com story.
Backed by Board Member allies Bib Taylor and Safanya Searcy, Harley hit back tonight.
“I am being retaliated against for once again uncovering wrongdoing at Essex County College,” said the college VP. “This time I’m being maligned for reporting misspending of over $20,000 of the college’s funds and taxpayer money on two flat screen televisions, homeowner fees for a luxury residence in Chicago, clothing, and tuition for a private day school in Chicago.
“None of these expenditures appear to fit the definition of relocation expenses pursuant to IRS rules and regulations,” she added. “I’ve asked the Board in writing to turn this matter over to the prosecutor’s office. I welcome a thorough investigation so that we can ensure that the best interests of the students at Essex County College are served.”