Murphy administration fires convict who ranted against Jews
Gov. Phil Murphy's administration is facing new criticism over the people it has put on the payroll.
The latest comes after the Department of Labor fired the Passaic County NAACP chairman, a man with a criminal record who made several Facebook posts against Jewish and Latino people.
Jeffrey Dye was fired from his $56,000-salary Labor Relations job on Tuesday after the New Jersey Globe and other media outlets reported on his online commentary, which including criticism of the “Jewish news media.”
Dye becomes the latest in a growing list of officials let go as a result of controversy during Murphy’s first term in office.
Republicans also have faced their share of blowback for online posts. Most recently on Tuesday, the Sussex County Community College Board of Trustees censured one its members, Sussex County GOP Chairman Jerry Scanlan, over Twitter posts that included a call to "eradicate Islam from every town.”
But the Murphy administration has been under fire for months, notably from fellow Democratic lawmakers, over its hiring practices.
Assemblyman Gary Schaer, D-Passaic, said this week that he had warned the Murphy administration against hiring Jackson.
In recent Facebook posts, Dye, who is black, used the local NAACP Facebook page to criticize U.S. aid to Israel, calling it a “damn shame and a disgrace.”
In another post, he complained that the School Development Authority was “Hiring All Latino Family Members & Friends & Excluding Black People.”
He argued in another post that a city school should be named after a local black woman instead of a “Foreigner’s Name,” adding that it was “Like Dogs Pissing On Their Territory That Hasn’t Done $h-- For Nobody in Passaic.”
Other posts highlighted by Politico New Jersey said Jews were “divide & conquering us” and that “The black holocaust has been & continues to be the worst of them all even though white media wants to make you think it's the Jews.”
Borrowing from common anti-Semitic tropes, Dye said “the Jewish news media don't want to show us black news.”
Dye has a criminal record stretching back to at least 1994, when he was indicted on witness tampering charges. In 1996 he was sentenced to 180 days in jail and four years of probation after pleading guilty to tampering with public records and cocaine possession.
In 2007, he pleaded guilty to resisting arrest after having been charged with third-degree charges of aggravated assault on police.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Labor told the North Jersey Record that the agency was aware of Dye’s criminal record and had been willing to give him a second chance.
Problematic hiring has been a recurring theme since New Jersey Housing Authority Chief of Staff Katie Brennan went public last fall with her accusation that fellow Murphy campaign worker Al Alvarez had raped her during the campaign. Brennan said she informed officials in the Murphy transition team about Alvarez, who was never charged with a crime, but he was hired anyway to the Schools Development Authority.
Alvarez was eventually forced out after Brennan’s story went public but the ensuing Legislative hearings into the hire resulted in the resignation in April of the agency’s CEO, Lizette Delgado-Polanco.
A state investigation found that Delgado-Polanco hired more than three dozen friends and relatives to the agency. Many of them were fired in July.
Last fall it was discovered that the Murphy’s Department of Education had hired Marcellus Jackson, a convicted Passaic County politician who got the gig even though he was legally barred from public employment. Jackson resigned in September.
In October, the governor had to suspend an aide over Facebook posts that called Republican leaders "evangelical ***holes" and "molesters, liars, drunks, racists, heartless, bigots." Noemi Velazquez also was ordered to undergo sensitivity training.
Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-359-5348 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.