Murphy defends spending $1M on new office in Newark

Updated Oct 14, 2019

Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday defended the decision to spend at least $1 million in taxpayer money on a larger satellite governor’s office in Newark.

Murphy’s main office is in Trenton, the state capital. But he also has run a second office out of Newark. Now, as first reported on by NJ Advance Media, the Democratic governor is upgrading to a larger space in Newark.

It will cost more than $145,000 a year in rent, according to lease records — about $100,000 more than the current space in Newark.

Murphy said Newark is “a place we have to have a flag planted.” He noted that Andrew Cuomo, the governor in neighboring New York, has offices not only in Albany, that state’s capital, but also in New York City.

“Newark is our equivalent,” Murphy said Monday during an unrelated news conference in Westfield. “It’s our biggest community. Good things from that. And the good news is: I get to hang my hat in one corner of those offices, and that’s, God willing, going to turn out to be a really smart thing for the state.”

“And it’ll be cheaper than the renovation Gov. Christie started at the Statehouse in Trenton,” the Democratic governor added.

Before he left office, Chris Christie — Murphy’s Republican predecessor — launched a $300 million renovation of the executive wing of the Statehouse. That displaced Murphy’s main office to a building down the street.

As for Murphy’s new Newark digs? He will share office space with the state Economic Development Authority and Choose New Jersey, a nonprofit funded by businesses. They will take up the entire 14th floor in the One Gateway building.

The state will technically pay rent to the EDA.

The EDA approved spending up to $1,862,525 for improvements to get the offices ready. It also set aside up to $455,000 for “new fixtures, furniture and equipment, and moving expenses.”

Those figures are for both the EDA and the governor’s office spaces.

Murphy’s office will replace the smaller governor’s office at Gateway Two.

Darryl Isherwood, a spokesman for Murphy’s administration, said he new space will "offer a more functional design that allows for more meeting rooms, additional work areas for staff, and a closer working relationship with our partners at the EDA and Choose NJ.”

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