Just over three weeks after being fired as the executive director of the Jersey City Employment and Training Program, former Gov. Jim McGreevey’s (D) New Jersey Re-entry Corporation is looking for a new home.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“It’s clear these two organizations cannot exist. We’re providing addiction treatment, job training and legal service for those reintegrating themselves into society. We’ll continue to proceed forward with our mission,” McGreevey told HCV over the phone.
He estimated that the Jersey City branch of the NJRC had around 800 clients in Jersey City, who will apparently not have to seek help at one of their eight other locations.
A recent email chain forwarded to HCV shines some light onto what led to the unexpected separation between JCETP and the NJRC.
“JCETP seems to have been usurped and merely exists as a facade for the previous Executive Director’s NJRC operations,” Acting JCETP Executive Director Sudhan Thomas said in an email to the board of trustees (which he still sits on) on January 11th, four days after McGreevey had been terminated.
” … There are about 24,000 unemployed / underemployed citizens in Jersey City and JCETP has serviced barely 1,800 as reported to the state department of Labor. There are about 22,000 unemployed citizens out there who need help and support. We need to get to work.”
Thomas, also the president of the Jersey City Board of Education, added that the school district reported 175 high school drop outs last year, yet only 17 received help from JCETP.
JCETP is mandated by The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which focuses on getting youth and at-risk populations employment opportunities through the U.S. Department of Labor.
Since then, McGreevey and Thomas have argued over who forced the NJRC out of Jersey City.
“Mr. Thomas severed the relationship between NJRC and JCETP, which had yielded substantial benefits to our clients,” McGreevey said in a January 24th email to Thomas and JCETP Chief Financial Officer Deophister Uffer.
Thomas responded a couple hours later insisting that it was McGreevey who ended the relationship between the two non-profit organizations.
“The contract does not allow JCEPT to severe the relationship. Only NJRC can terminate the relationship. Our focus is and has always been continued service to the citizens of Jersey City,” he responded.
McGreevey was not about to relent, doubling down that there was one person to blame for services being disrupted.
“Sudhan, you unfortunately ruptured the agreement in a very public and destructive way. You have damaged services to our clients and repeatedly engaged in malicious and knowing falsehoods as to the relationship between NJRC and JCETP,” McGreevey wrote back that evening.
“It’s most unfortunate, our clients will be those who suffer most for your egregious actions.”
JCETP and the NJRC share an office space at 398 Martin Luther King Dr. and at least a dozen workers affiliated with NJRC were asked to vacate the premises as soon as possible this morning, multiple sources, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, said.
McGreevey added that Hudson County would “unequivocally” remain an important part of the NJRC network regardless of where they decided to set up shop next.
When he was voted out as JCETP executive director on January 7th, McGreevey alleged that the move was political retaliation from Mayor Steven Fulop for firing a Ward F political operative that had helped Fulop in the past.
While the majority of the nine-person board has ties to Fulop, Thomas called McGreevey’s assertion at the time “imaginations and fantasies.”
Fulop has also accused McGreevey of misappropriating funds at JCETP, a claim McGreevey has denied.
The latest wrinkle in the increasingly bitter feud between McGreevey and Fulop comes hours after news leaked that the former governor had dinner with U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito in Jersey City on Friday.
For now, McGreevey is still scheduled to have his annual re-entry conference at St. Peter’s University in Jersey City on March 29th.
The event boasts appearances from Carpenito, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), state Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) and New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with comments from former Gov. Jim McGreevey.