The New Jersey Schools Development Agency was founded to fund and manage the new construction, modernization and renovation of school facilities in “troubled” districts. Having just moved out of one of these troubled districts, I can tell you that the SDA was spending money like it was going out of style, creating veritable palaces out of formerly worn-out school buildings.

The beleaguered state agency has been fraught with problems since its inception and especially under Gov. Phil Murphy's administration. First, a former Murphy campaign volunteer accused the SDA chief of staff of rape. He was subsequently fired. A longtime SDA employee filed suit against the authority, claiming she was denied promotions because of her Indian heritage and then claimed she was fired in retaliation for complaining about it.

Additionally, the Authority’s CEO, Lizette Delgado-Polanco, was also fired following allegations that she had hired friends and relatives to high-paying jobs. Recently, an investigation found that her questionable actions were performed “with the tacit approval of the Governor’s Office,” according to the State Commission of Investigation, implying that Murphy knew what was going on all along.

Subsequently, according to an article on, Murphy declined to comment on the report, which he said he had not read. Later, he said that he disagreed with the investigation’s findings but would not say on exactly what. According to an article on, Republican lawmakers along with Senate President Steve Sweeney called for the abolishment of the Schools Development Authority.

It’s about time. It’s proven to be a patronage pit and a petri dish of corruption. State Sen. Declan O’Scanlon (R-Little Silver), is a cosponsor of the bill to get rid of the SDA. The New Jersey Globe article quotes O’Scanlon as saying “This agency is the epitome of what gives State workers and their bosses a bad name.”

You can say that again.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco. Any opinions expressed are Judi's own.

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