Audit finds favoritism, shoddy hiring practices NJ schools agency

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TRENTON -

Thirty employees were fired during a major shakeup at the New Jersey School Development Authority Tuesday.

A Murphy administration source confirms to News 12 New Jersey that 27 of the people let go from the agency were hired by the former CEO Lizette Delgado-Polanco, who has been accused of breaking the rules to hire people with whom she had personal ties.

The audit released Tuesday said some Schools Development Authority employees were hired without interviews or job postings and were given higher salaries than longtime employees, creating resentment among the staff.

The audit said some of the new hires weren't qualified for their positions and had to be transferred or have their job descriptions modified to accommodate their lack of qualifications.

RELATED: Ex-School Development Authority CEO steps down amid hiring scandal 
MORE: Kane In Your Corner podcast: Shake-up at the SDA – listen here 

The report also says there are several instances where new SDA employees started at higher salaries or more prestigious titles. One new hire even reportedly admitted that she had no background in her department area and was hired with the second-highest salary in the department.

Delgado-Polanco resigned in April. The agency oversees construction projects in 31 of the state's poorest school districts.

This isn't the only time the Murphy administration or the SDA have been scrutinized for their hiring practices. Former SDA official Al Alvarez was forced to leave his position amid allegations that he sexually assaulted Katie Brennan, when both were working on the Murphy gubernatorial campaign. Despite months of hearings, no one would ever admit to hiring him.

Other Murphy administration hirings under scrutiny include Marcellus Jackson and Derrick Green. Jackson was a former Passaic councilman who served prison time for taking bribes, and was hired to work at the Department of Education. Green was a Murphy campaign official who worked in the Secretary of State's office and had ties to a campaign finance scandal in Bermuda.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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