Six months ago, New Jersey Corrections Commissioner Devon Brown dropped a bombshell at a budget hearing when he told lawmakers that the governor’s office and legislative leaders had forced him to hire 14 workers for nothing more than political reasons. Brown ordered an “exhaustive review” of the patronage hires to determine if they were fit for their jobs, and acting Gov. Richard Codey asked all state commissioners to give him the name of anyone they considered to be an unqualified worker protected by political patrons, reports the Newark Star-Ledger.
Today, records show all but one of the 14 employees identified by Brown in May remain on the state payroll, with 11 having been cleared to stay in their jobs or hold similar ones. And the other commissioners never provided Codey with any names of political appointees they believed to be unqualified. Brown said most of the politically appointed employees whose names he released in May were later deemed fit for their jobs because the department trained them. They grew into their jobs, he said. They now earn a combined $809,818. The only one of the 14 still not on the payroll resigned in June.