A prominent Monmouth County Democrat who wants the newly created position of chief ethics officer at New Jersey Transit finds himself in a self induced ethical controversy after an email he sent to other Democrat leaders was leaked to Politico.
Bob Salman, 79 of Marlboro, served as Inspector General of the Department of Transportation during the McGreevey/Codey and Corzine administrations. Governor Christie appointed him to the Council on Local Mandates. He is a member of the Democrat State Committee and is an inductee of the Monmouth Democrat Hall of Fame.
Salman has been trying to get job in the Murphy Administration “for months,” according to the Politico article. There appeared to be movement towards a job for Salman in the administration almost coincidentally with Murphy asking Salman to express his support for NJ Democrat Chairman John Currie’s reelection. (Currie’s current term doesn’t expire until 2020. Lacking meaningful opposition from the NJ GOP, NJ Democrats are fighting amongts themselves just to stay sharp.)
In his email to other Democrat leaders, Salman conflated his potential employment in the Murphy administration with the Governor’s text asking for support of Currie’s reelection, as reported by Politico:
“I just heard from Mike Delasandro who told me that he had spoken to [Department of Transportation Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti] and that she definitely wanted to bring me on board at NJT,” the job seeker, Robert Salman, wrote in the Sunday morning email. “Apparently, the possibilities are a meaningful consultancy possibly in the auditing area or the newly created position of Chief Ethics Officer at NJT. I said that I would leave it to their good judgment, but noted the similarity between the Ethics Officer position and my past position as IG of DOT.”
Salman, 79, confirmed in a phone interview that by “Mike Delasandro” he meant Mike Delamater, the director of intergovernmental affairs for the Murphy administration. Salman said he believes he received the text message from Murphy on Saturday night and read it Sunday morning.
The Salman email continued: “FYI, I also got a text from Governor Murphy asking me to support Chairman Currie. In light of the developments at NJT and my own personal high regard for Chairman Currie I responded to the Governor by pledging to support Chairman Currie.”
Salman followed the email with another seeking to clarify that his support for Currie is not a quid-pro-quo for employment:
Salman, in the phone interview Saturday, denied that his support for Currie, who is likely to face a challenger in his reelection, had anything to do with the potential job. He forwarded POLITICO a copy of an email he sent to the same recipient 3½ hours later clarifying that his support for Currie was “based solely on my high regard for him as a person and on the job he has done as Chair of the NJDSC” and that it “has nothing to do with whether I will be offered or accept any position in the Murphy administration.”
In a phone interview on Wednesday morning, Salman said that the idea that he is proposing a quid-pro-quo is ‘hogwash.” Salman said that his original email was sent and a private communication to Senator Vin Gopal and that he doe not know who leaked the email to Politico.