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You are here: Home News "Beyond Bergen" - News From Across New Jersey Brendan Gill: I didn't hire Al Alvarez either | Moran

News From "Beyond Bergen"

Brendan Gill: I didn't hire Al Alvarez either | Moran

How did Alvarez get a $140,000 job if no one hired him? For weeks, Murphy's senior people have all denied it. Can't the governor get an answer?

Brendan Gill wants to be clear about one thing: It wasn't him.

He is not the guy who was behind the decision to hire Al Alvarez to a senior job in the Murphy administration after Katie Brennan accused Alvarez of sexually assaulting her. The rumors, he says, are dead wrong.

"I had no communication with anyone to encourage the hiring of Alvarez," said Gill, who was Murphy's campaign manager, and serves as a freeholder in Essex County. "I was not involved in the transition or hiring practices of the administration."

So, the mystery lives. It is amazing to me that no one in the Murphy administration has stepped up and admitted to this mistake. And it's even more amazing that the governor allows the question to drag on, week after week.

"This is so silly," says Sen. Loretta Weinberg, D-Bergen, the co-chair of the committee. "All the governor has to do is tell us."

Maybe he doesn't know. But if that's the case, why hasn't he called all his people into a big conference room and pounded his fist on the table, demanding to know?

Instead, we heard a parade of Murphy's senior people swear oaths before the Legislative committee investigating this case, and claim that it wasn't them, leaving legislators exasperated.

In Trenton, on the sidelines of the committee hearing, Gill is the chief suspect. But when I ask those spreading the rumor to show me Gill's fingerprints, they come up empty.

So, on Monday, I called Gill and asked. He wasn't pleased. He thought I should have some hard evidence before even asking the question. I explained that I spend half my life chasing rumors, and that half of them turn out to be true. It's what we journalists do, or at least part of it.

I was surprised that Gill was so sweeping in his denial. He says he wasn't involved in hiring generally, which might make him the first campaign manager in history to win an election and claim none of the patronage spoils.

Maybe that made him nervous, because he added on one small caveat: He said that if someone had called and asked him about Alvarez, he might have said that Alvarez performed well during the campaign, when he worked to fortify support among Latino voters.

"I don't remember anyone doing that specifically," Gill said. "Someone may have called me. I don't want to say 'no' for sure. I don't remember."

Another slap in the face for Katie Brennan |Moran

I asked Weinberg, who has heard the rumors, too, if the committee intended to call Gill to testify. "Not at the moment," she said.

Hmmm.

In the meantime, Alvarez has now been cleared of criminal wrongdoing by two county prosecutors, in Hudson and Middlesex. Maybe that will encourage whoever did hire him to come out of hiding, someday.

More: Tom Moran columns 

Tom Moran may be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or call (973) 836-4909. Follow him on Twitter @tomamoran. Find NJ.com Opinion on Facebook.


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