OPINION: Time for Gov. Phil Murphy to Answer New Jersey Lawmakers Questions About Pandemic Decisions

Last May, the State Senate reached an agreement to launch a bipartisan committee to investigate New Jersey’s response on a range of coronavirus-related issues.

The deal, completed by Senate President Steve Sweeney and Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr., would form a “Review and Recovery Committee” to examine how Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration responded to a swath of problems caused by the pandemic across New Jersey.

Lawmakers would investigate at the decisions Murphy and key members of his administration made and take a critical look to see what could have been done differently, focused on if the large number of deaths could have been avoided at the state’s long-term care facilities, the breakdown of the aging unemployment system, the disproportionate impact on minorities, the fiscal hurdles faced by small businesses and other issues the state has faced during the pandemic.

So frustrated by repeated delays from their colleagues across the aisle, GOP State Senators and Assembly members have forged ahead with their own hearings, the first March 5 centered on long-term care facilities and the latest this past Friday on the economy.

Murphy has repeatedly stated that there will be a post mortem done to assess the actions of he and his administrations. We will credit the governor for holding comprehensive press briefings multiple times a week during the pandemic, giving residents of New Jersey an opportunity to understand the actions the administration has taken.

But what really rings hollow is when Gov. Murphy claims his administration has been transparent in explaining their decisions as well as the excuse that officials are too busy to appear before lawmakers because they are “still trying to land the plane.” Explaining a decision is not being transparent. Fulfilling journalists requests for public documents in a timely fashion that are not heavily redacted and going before lawmakers, including those from the opposing party, is.

The governor has increasingly started to make more and more public appearances around the state multiple times a week. Most appearances are held to promote his agenda in regards to the state’s response to the coronavirus—with state officials accompanying him, including the woman who needs no introduction, the Commissioner of Health Judith Persichilli.

So officials aren’t too busy for photo ops across the state but they do not have enough time to answer the questions about their response to a pandemic that has killed over 24,000 of our fellow New Jerseyans? 

We aren’t knuckleheads, Governor. You do have time but you are choosing not to face questions that the people of the state are asking and deserve answers to.

We hold no illusions that politics are not in play with Republicans. Their hearings are in part an attempt to damage a popular politician looking to be re-elected in November. But voters deserve to know as much information about the dominant issue of Murphy’s first term before deciding if he is worthy of leading the state over the next four years.

It is shameful while having the time to traverse the state for numerous photo ops, Gov. Murphy keeps saying he and state officials are too busy to cooperate with state lawmakers. The time has come for the Governor and Democratic leaders enabling him to end this charade and schedule hearings.


  1. Murphy has got to go; what’s the deal with landlord tenant court- still closed after a year with more than 50,000 cases on hold, growing each day; Mr. Goldman Sachs is making landlords support nonpaying tenants, and his rental assistance program is a joke – it’s a lottery; and even if you are one of the 14% who wins, collecting the money is another big problem; Murphy hired consultants to run the rental lottery – Nan McCay; how much is she worth; who does she know on the inside of Murphy’s brain trust? Christie hired corrupt incompetent consultants to run the Sandy grant program, and so it goes with Goldman Phil; at least Christie ate his way up the political food chain, Murphy just bought the job – that he is not qualified for.

  2. Let’s see, we had a pandemic that was exacerbated to be the worst in the world due to a President lying and playing politics with people’s lives. The federal government had Plenty of notice and an advisory board and the CDC and all the warning signs it needed. No state was given the information they needed to make proper decisions . So now the GOP is looking to shift blame. This is purely political and nothing more. It will show problems because there were problems. It will show bad decisions because there were bad decisions. But the buck stops at the presidency and that’s where all the bad information trickled down from . For the side of the aisle that caused this to be as bad as it was to now be clamouring for the heads of Democrat governors, is ludicrous.

  3. Let’s see what “malarcky”, Murphy comes up with. He is such an irresponsible polyanna,! Again, l ask what is Murphy doing about Katy brennens testimony.and what is he doing about persons hired that are screw-ups. Like the political people who were hired and then fired so many only to put in unqualified related workers.and what happened to this so-called website and phone number to register people for vaccines. Murphy swore the phone operators were trained. Some of them didn’t know their ass from their elbow.and last the woman prisoners who had to give sexual favors to officers in order to function and receive their privileges. I think Murphy is a wimp!!!! I like Sweeney or chitterelli

    1. I agree, He just let the most vulnerable residents die during the pandemic. New Jersey had by far the worst death rate in America because of Murphy and Persichilli, I live in Guttenberg, which has a death rate that is one of the very worst in America, and many seniors are still struggling to get vaccinated. I am a loyal Democrat, and I support many of Murphy’s policiies. But I will vote against him. I hope he never darkens a position of power again. I have watched too many friends die because of his arrogance, ignorance and deadly decisions.

      1. Coronavirus has been hellish for all of us, as we have at least: absorbed news of Covid-19 deaths, while hunkered down in our homes. I lost a first cousin to the virus, and three of my elderly relatives almost died, as they fought and beat the virus. Now you point out, BillandBill, that we can’t easily get those vaccines that we hear, read, and see, so much about! My 71-year-old mom was too “young” to get a vaccine from a local provider that only took folks ages 75 and older! And I, too, can’t get vaccines, despite my underlying health conditions that “qualify” me for one now (smile)! I like Gov. Phil Murphy, President Joe Biden, and other good-hearted politicians who are saying all of the right things, in my book. But dang! I have always been an impatient person, and I just might explode (smile) before we will FINALLY get and experience, some real, positive change!

  4. We all have the right to our opinions. And mine is, we waste time prematurely psychoanalyzing/criticizing our politicians’ past responses to unforeseen, ever-unfolding and ever-changing, Coronavirus! We instead must focus on fighting this thing, that still plagues us as scientists and health/medical experts, learn more about it. We stay alive, by listening to, and following advice by, experts who guide us. God alone knows everything about this virus! Even the experts admitted last year they did not know enough. Remember the U.S. Centers for Disease Control first said we shouldn’t wear masks in public. Then the CDC learned wearing masks is crucial! Only God knows everything. Humans only know that Gov. Phil Murphy, scientists, and others, worked and still work hard, to protect us from deadly Coronavirus. We had to, and will still need to, do things differently, as we live in 2021, with our STILL, Covid-2019!

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