(The Center Square) – While state employees have started returning to the office full-time, New Jersey Republicans criticized Gov. Phil Murphy for the delayed re-opening of state offices.
State employees began returning to the office full-time on Oct. 18, Alyana Alfaro Post, press secretary for Murphy, a Democrat, told The Center Square last week.
Agencies returning include those with “more in-person services,” such as the Department of Labor (DOL), Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) and Department of Children and Families (DCF), Post said. The DOL’s One-Stop Career Centers have also started taking in-person appointments.
“The Administration is working expeditiously to ensure a full return over the next month,” Post said in an e-mail. “Employees across state government who had previously been working remotely returned to the worksite on a hybrid schedule (2 to 3 days per week) in July.”
According to the governor’s office, agencies with more than 2,500 employees will return to the office full-time on Nov. 8. Agencies with between 500 and 2,500 employees will return to the office full-time on Nov. 15, while agencies with less than 500 employees will return to the office full-time on Nov. 29.
Last week, Republican lawmakers in the first legislative district in southern New Jersey said MVC sites are operating at limited capacities, while the One-Stop Career Centers will not help with unemployment claim issues.
“Closed state offices have become all too familiar, and the whole thing is exasperating,” state Sen. Michael Testa, R-Vineland, said in a statement. “The citizens of New Jersey deserve better. This clearly isn’t the ‘stronger and fairer’ picture that Murphy is painting.
“Students are in school. Restaurants, bars, and retailers are serving customers and conducting business,” Testa added. “Unemployment offices shouldn’t be closed for even one more day. We have constituents who have been struggling with benefit claims for months and they deserve to speak face-to-face with trained workers who can help.”