How do you think Phil Murphy has done in his first year as governor of New Jersey?

Ben Dworkin, the director of the Rowan Institute for Public Policy and Citizenship at Rowan University, gives Murphy an overall grade of B-minus.

While Murphy was not able to get his big front-burner issues pushed through, Dworkin says Murphy is seeing success with paid family leave, additional gun control measures, making a full state contribution to the pension system and raising taxes on the upper tax brackets.

"All of these were significant. They’re not just something to be dismissed," he said.

On the flip side, Dworkin noted Murphy has not been an effective negotiator with legislative leaders of his own party.

“Phil Murphy has never worked in Trenton before. His administration was filled with a bunch of senior level people who were outsiders," Dworkin said.

Patrick Murray, the director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, also gives Murphy a B-minus for his first year in office.

“The millionaire’s tax he didn’t quite get in the last budget, he’s still looking at raising the minimum wage, legalizing marijuana — those things have not been settled yet," Murray said.

Murray believes Murphy’s biggest accomplishment so far is that fact that he’s not Chris Christie.

“The public seems to be giving him pretty good marks in large part because he is really not a presence they see every day like Chris Christie was.”

He added if Murphy wants to hold on to his B-minus grade, he’s going to have to improve his communication skills.

“The big problem for him is really going to be negotiating with the Legislature in a much more productive way than we’ve seen over the past year.”

Dworkin said the inability to effectively communicate and negotiate is holding back Murphy's push for a $15 minimum wage and legalizing marijuana.

“People in Trenton respect the office of the governor but they don’t respect the political skill of the governor or his staff," he said. “On certain basic political things and operational things, they still do not have their act together."

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You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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