Baraka's brothers on Newark payroll: The Auditor

By The Auditor | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
on February 15, 2015

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, shown in this file photo, has put his two brothers on Newark's payroll

 

Philadelphia may be known as the city of brotherly love, but perhaps Newark could make a claim for the title as well.

Among the flurry of hires and promotions Newark Mayor Ras Baraka made right after he took office in July, The Auditor noticed two of them included his brothers.

Amiri Baraka Jr. , who was Baraka's chief of staff when he was a South Ward councilman, was promoted to chief of staff for the city.

Though his title may be similar, his salary isn't. Baraka Jr.'s compensation increased from $71,976 to $104,578.77, records show.

Meanwhile, Baraka hired his other brother, Obalaji Jones, as a youth opportunity coordinator making $73,999.38, records show.

Newark spokesman Felipe Luciano said the jobs were not posted publicly because they are not civil service jobs.

The mayor said in a statement that he hired his brothers because of their qualifications for the job.

In a resume supplied to The Auditor, the city pointed to Amiri Baraka Jr.'s experience as Baraka's chief of staff, as Baraka's campaign manager, a public school teacher, an aide to former mayor Sharpe James and a public health administrator.

"A Newark native and lifelong resident, he is also a veteran community activist and extremely knowledgeable about the political, legal, and other issues our City faces, and a natural choice for my Chief of Staff," Baraka said in a statement about Amiri Baraka Jr.

A resume supplied by the city for Jones indicated that he has worked as a basketball and football coach for various schools and camps, a community relations specialist for the city and was a site director for St. Peter's Recreation Center.

"My brother Obalaji has a 23-year career with the City of Newark and other organizations in the recreation and youth services field," Baraka said. "His appointment was motivated by that lengthy experience and institutional knowledge of Newark, its youth, and its issues."

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