Bob Salman, the 79 year old Democrat State Committeeman from Marlboro, believes that Senator Vin Gopal thwarted any chance he had to join the Murphy administration when the young senator distributed an email that Salman meant for Gopal’s eyes only.
“I don’t need a job. My family doesn’t want me to work and now I probably won’t get the job,” Salman told MMM in a phone interview on Wednesday.
Salman said that the had been angling to return to the Department of Transportation, where he served as Inspector General during the McGreevey/Codey and Corzine administrations, since Governor Phil Murphy was elected last year. He told MMM that he advised the Murphy campaign and the transition on transportation issues. “I had hoped to get a high level job after Governor Murphy took office,” Salman said. “I didn’t get it. The legislation that reforms NJ Transit includes a Chief Ethics Officer, That’s not an Inspector General but it is close. Now I’m probably not going to get that.”
Salman believed he was on the verge of a getting a meaningful job in NJ Transit according to his email to Gopal which made its way to 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,” Salman wrote to Gopal on Sunday morning. “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.”
By “Mike Delasandro,” Salman said meant Micheal Delamater, the director of intergovernmental affairs for the Murphy administration.
Salman created a problem for himself, and perhaps Delamater and Murphy, when he conflated his potential employment with Murphy’s almost simultaneous request that he support State Democrat Chairman John Currie bid for reelection in 2020.
“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 said in his email to Gopal.
Salman told MMM that he sent the first email to Gopal because the senator, a former Monmouth County Democrat Chairman and a former State Democrat Vice Chairman under Currie, has been urging the Monmouth delegation to the Democrat State Committee to stay neutral in the State Chairman’s race.
Three hours after sending his email to Gopal, Salman followed with a second email clarifying that his support for Currie was not a quid-pro-quo for a job in Murphy’s NJ Transit. Salman told MMM that he did not remember what prompted him to send a second email to Gopal.
“It’s hogwash,” Salman said of the notion that he was conditioning his support for Currie with getting a job in the Murphy administration. “I don’t need a job. I wanted to give back. I support Jack Currie for reelection, period. I have known him for years and he’s done a good job.”
Gopal declined to comment.