In a move that may only be the tip of a political iceberg, the nine-member board overseeing the Jersey City Employment and Training Program (JCETP) fired executive director Jim McGreevey in a 5-3-1 vote on Jan. 8.
The board met at JCETP’s headquarters on Martin Luther King Drive, where McGreevey supporters argued on his behalf for more than an hour. But the board ultimately voted to terminate his services after nearly six years.
Board members refused to divulge the reasons for the termination.
McGreevey, however, said he believed it may be tied Eugene McKnight, a key political operative for the Fulop Administration, currently under federal investigation for an alleged scheme to collect kickbacks from salaries of ex-offenders placed in jobs through the program.
McGreevey terminated McKnight pending the outcome of the investigation.
Sudhan Thomas, chairman of JCETP’s board, however, said the board was concerned about the program being used exclusively to fund reentry programs tied to NJ Reentry Corp., a not-for-profit McGreevey also runs rather than to the broader spectrum cases the program is designed to benefit.
“This has become a one-shop-stop for ex-offenders,” Thomas said. “Many of these people come from other of NJ Reentry Corp. offices elsewhere in the state but are paid for by Jersey City.”
McGreevey disputed both claims, saying that only 22 percent of the population served by JCETP were reentry population.
“78 percent are non-reentry people,” McGreevey said. “92 percent of those involved in the program are from Jersey City, or originated here.”
The board vote fell along political lines with Thomas, Rudolph Daniels, Jeremy Farrell (former Fulop corporation counsel) Stacey Flanagan (Fulop appointed health officer) and recently Fulop-recruited Mark Rowan voting to remove McGreevey without comment.
Long-time McGreevey ally Bob Knapp, JC Municipal Prosecutor Jake Hudnut and Darrell Laval voted against. Anthony Lewis abstained.
McGreevey, prior to the vote, threaten to sue the city if the board went ahead with firing. It is unclear whether or not he intends to pursue legal action although he has retained legal counsel.
McGreevey, however, will retain his position as the head of the NJ Reentry Corp.