This is a guest post by Michael Lilley, Founder and President of the Sunlight Policy Center of New Jersey, which seeks to educate residents on the way NJEA “uses their tax dollars against their own interests, secures benefits for the few over the many, and blocks needed reforms.” This was originally published on SPCNJ’s website.
This month’s NJEA Review revealed that Ed Richardson is no longer the executive director of the NJEA, having been replaced by another long-time political operative, Steve Swetsky. So the dominance of the executive office – and of the NJEA – by political organizers continues.
But what is strange is that Richardson’s removal was done very quietly. There has been no public announcement and other than the “Staff” page’s personnel listings there was no mention in the October NJEA Review. Why the strange silence about an executive director who has been in place since 2013?
Could it be that Richardson’s public profile was less than flattering for the NJEA? After all, Richardson, a New Jersey one-percenter, made negative headlines with his $1.2 million pay package in 2015 (almost 18 times what the average teacher makes). Under Richardson’s directorship, the NJEA also made negative headlines by spending $9.3 million of its teachers’ hard-earned dues on the futile effort to unseat Senate President Sweeney and on the “dark money” group New Direction New Jersey. SPCNJ calculated that the NJEA could have given each of its members a $50 rebate on their $950 annual dues rather than spend it on such dubious political efforts.
We are left to speculate on the reasons for Richardson’s departure because the NJEA is silent. Perhaps an intrepid reporter will ask them.