State Senator Joseph Cryan, who was ousted from his job in the Union County Sheriff’s office after he backed a rival to Democratic Party Chairman and state Senator Nicholas Scutari, has landed another $190,000 per year job as the new Executive Director of the Middlesex County Utilities Authority (MCUA).
Cryan will split his time between the part-time elected post, which has a $49,000 annual salary, and the job running the agency that operates a Middlesex County landfill and wastewater treatment facility. He is a senator for the state’s 20th Legislative District, representing Elizabeth, Hillside, Roselle and Union.
The Union Township political boss, Cryan moved into the Senate seat vacated by longtime legislator Raymond J. Lesniak, who made a half-hearted bid for governor in the 2017 primary.
The son of the late Essex County Sheriff John Cryan, an Irish transplant who was once said to have “built a party organization from Newark tavern sawdust and Roscommon sweat equity,” the new senator is said to be plotting to replace Assemblyman Jamel Holley in next year’s primary, but no overt indications have surfaced who that would be or whether the maneuver will be successful.
Scutari was not able to dislodge Linden Mayor Derek Armstead, who won a commanding victory for a second term in the recent primary, but he may be able to protect Holley despite hometown resentments brewing in Roselle.
Cryan was appointed by the MCUA in MarchHe made about $50,000 less in salary in the law enforcement position
The authority Board of Commissioners appointed Cryan as executive director March 22, and left as the Undersheriff of Union County on April 13 in order to start the MCUA job on April 16.
“Joseph Cryan brings with him a wealth of experience overseeing every aspect of a multifaceted agency. During his tenure as administrative undersheriff and sheriff, the Union County Sheriff’s Office received national and statewide accreditations for efficiency and operations,” said MCUA Chairman Ted Light, a former Piscataway mayor. “Because of this experience and his many years of outstanding public service as a state legislator, I am confident Mr. Cryan possesses the right skills and knowledge to lead the MCUA into its next chapter.”
Cryan was Union County sheriff before he ran for state Senate. He was a state assemblyman from 2002 to 2014, while he also worked as an appointed undersheriff.
Union County’s newly elected sheriff, Peter Corvelli, selected Cryan as one of three undersheriffs, a job that paid about $140,000, according to public records. Cryan will make $190,000, receive medical benefits and accumulate pension credits at his new job in Middlesex County.
Former MCUA Director Richard Fitamant was making about $219,000 annually in the role, public pension records show, and he remains on the tax-funded payroll at the authority.
State lawmakers are banned from serving in two elected offices at the same time, although the practice did not apply to appointed jobs such as Cryan’s post at the MCUA or his position as undersheriff.
Scutari, a protégé of the late Linden Mayor John Gregorio and state Senator Joe Suliga, turned back a challenge from Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr, for chair of the Union County Democratic Committee.
Although she was technically in charge after former Assemblyman Jerry Green resigned as party leader, Scutari was the victor in a special election that split in his favor by a vote of 412-341.
In two initial power plays, Scutari made his legislative chief of staff, Ed Oatman, the new county manager and a Kean University Trustee, at the same time he hired Lesniak’s longtime chief of staff, Tony Teixeira, to replace Oatman.
Cryan wields considerably less influence than Scutari in Trenton, where he is chairman of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee.
Posts he hold now, vice-chair of the Commerce Committee a member of the Law and Public Safety Committee, are a long fall from when Cryan was Democratic State Committee chair from 2006 until 2010 when he became Assembly Majority Leader, a post he held until 2012.
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