For the first time in New Jersey’s 242-year history, the majority of a governor’s Cabinet appointments are women.
Gov. Phil Murphy Tuesday announced three more selections.
For secretary of higher education, Muphy nominated Zakiya Smith Ellis who for 10 years has worked on education policy issues in Washington, D.C..
Smith said a powerful movement is brewing in the nation around the concept of free community college.
“I’ve had the opportunity to become familiar with different approaches that states have taken to develop these kinds of plans and am really looking forward to the opportunity to work with the governor, the Legislature, and institutions in this state to develop a responsible approach that works well for New Jersey,” she said.
Murphy, who said the state Civil Service Commission has veered away from its core responsibility to become politicized, has tapped Deirdre Webster Cobb to chair the commission. A 25-year state employee, Cobb said she will conduct a thorough review to determine areas that need improvement.
“We must develop a plan that will equip our managers with the flexibility necessary to manage their workforce and cost-effectively improve productivity — while restoring employee confidence in a system that rewards quality, merit, and productivity,” she said.
And former Army Capt. Sue Fulton, an LGBTQ activist, is the governor’s choice to lead the Motor Vehicle Commission.
Fulton said she will work to fulfill Murphy’s promise for better customer service and allowing automatic voter registration.
“To leverage the MVC to expand democracy in our state,” she said of her goals. “To ensure that all New Jerseyans are treated with respect and dignity when they come to our offices.”
Murphy believes New Jersey now has the most diverse Cabinet of any state in the nation.