Lizette Delgado-Polanco

New Jersey's School Redevelopment Authority

NJ Schools Development Authority CEO Resigns After Allegedly Hiring Relatives

April 23, 2019 - 7:46 pm
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TRENTON (WCBS 880) — The CEO of New Jersey's Schools Development Authority resigned Tuesday after facing pressure in the wake of revelations that she let go career workers and hired her own friends and relatives.

As WCBS 880’s Steve Burns reports, Lizette Delgado-Polanco was well-regarded in New Jersey's Democratic circles.

“This is a person who was vice chair of the state Democratic Committee,” said Montclair State University political science professor Bridget Harrison. “She was viewed as a kind of mover and shaker.”

Gov. Phil Murphy appointed her as the chief executive of the Schools Development Authority, where she allegedly hired dozens of people who appeared to have personal connections to her or her family, as first reported by NorthJersey.com.

“This is an organization that, within the state, holds great political power,” Harrison notes.

According to NorthJersey.com, 26 of the Schools Development Authority’s employees were "terminated" and replaced with some allies of Delgado-Polanco, including a cousin who had been accused workplace sexual harassment.

“There were egregious examples of patronage,” Harrison said.

Murphy stayed quiet the entire time and refused to order Delgado-Polanco to step down. But pressure certainly came from other, most notably Senate President Steve Sweeney.

Harrison notes it was just the latest chapter in Murphy and Sweeney's ongoing power struggle.

“It is illustrative of the deep divide within these factions of the Democrats in the state of New Jersey,” she said.

Delgado-Polanco’s resignation will be effective on Friday.