Murphy names chief of staff, chief counsel, ethics counsel

Governor-elect Phil Murphy has named Pete Cammarano as his chief of staff and Matt Platkin as his chief counsel.

Cammarano previously served as chief of staff to Governor Richard Codey from 2004 to 2006. Platkin was Murphy’s policy director during the gubernatorial campaign.

“My administration will be judged both by the quality of the ideas put forward, and by our ability to implement an agenda that moves our state and our people forward in a new and better direction,” Murphy said in a statement about the appointments. “The people have entrusted us to make New Jersey the place where progressive ideals and responsible government go hand-in-hand. With Pete and Matt leading the team, we will be in a strong position to achieve that goal.”

Cammarano will oversee all the workings of the governor’s office and the Executive Branch.

Platkin will serve as the Governor’s chief legal adviser and will shape the administration’s policy proposals.

Cammarano was Codey’s chief of staff for 10 years in the New Jersey Senate. He previously served as the director of public affairs for the New Jersey Department of Insurance under Governor James Florio, and as deputy director for United States Senator Frank Lautenberg’s 1994 re-election campaign. He is a former member of the New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, and he served seven years as a member of the Metuchen Borough Council prior to being elected mayor in 2015. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science from Rutgers University.

Platkin was an attorney at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP in New York, where his practice focused on criminal and regulatory investigations. He worked for Senator Cory Booker’s 2013 Senate campaign as well as having advised various state and federal campaigns across the country. He began his career working on economic policy at The Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., where he advised members of Congress on policies to promote economic recovery and job growth in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. He also served as a board member of America Needs You – New Jersey, an organization that provides mentoring and professional development to first-generation, low-income college students in New Jersey. He earned his bachelor’s degree and his law degree from Stanford University.

Murphy also named two people to serve as his ethics counsel for the transition — former New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice James Zazzali and former Associate Justice Gary Stein. They will ensure that all gubernatorial transition staff, committees and volunteers adhere to all state ethics laws and will ensure transparency, according to Murphy.

Zazzali was appointed to the New Jersey Supreme Court in 2000 by former Governor Christine Todd Whitman and retired in 2007. He served as the chief justice from 2006-2007. He currently is of counsel to the Gibbons and Zazzali Fagella law firms.

Stein was appointed to the Supreme Court by former Governor Thomas Kean in 1985 and served until 2002. He currently is special counsel to the firm of Pashman Stein Walder Hayden.

Murphy also announced his appointment of Rajiv Parikh, currently a partner at Genova Burns LLC, to serve as senior counsel for the transition team. Parikh will provide advice and counsel to the executive director, senior staff, and transition committees on all legal and compliance matters.