New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy chose the perfect candidate to lead when he created the new Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging in the Governor’s office. Jayné Johnson, an Oakwood University graduate, will serve as director, ensuring equity in the state government, as well as in legislation. Get the full story from New Jersey Business below.

Gov. Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 265 to create the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging in the Governor’s office. This new internal office, led by Jayné Johnson, aims to dismantle inequity within state government based on race, ethnicity, and other protected characteristics and to expand opportunities for communities of color and other underserved New Jerseyans. The office will also be committed to fostering greater inclusion and understanding of issues of diversity, equity, and belonging.

Additionally, the Governor signed a legislative package to bring greater diversity to the ranks of law enforcement. The bills direct the Civil Service Commission to implement several programs to promote diversity in law enforcement. The programs include a mentorship program for law enforcement applicants as well as the creation of a statewide database to assist the Commission in understanding the reason for an applicant’s selection or disqualification during the hiring process.

“With today’s executive order and bill signings, we are building on our commitment to advance equity for New Jerseyans who have been left behind for far too long,” said Governor Murphy. “Jayné’s wealth of experience advocating for social justice and prior work crafting policy solutions that promote equity will serve her well in this role. I am proud to appoint her as the Director of this important new office and to sign a legislative package to ensure a stronger and fairer New Jersey that works for all.”

“During my career, I have had the honor of serving in different leadership roles to achieve equity to combat the long-standing problem of systemic racism and discrimination in our laws, economy, and institutions,” said Jayné Johnson, incoming Director of the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging at the Governor’s office. “My new position in the Governor’s Office will allow me to continue doing critical work to build a more equitable and inclusive future and I appreciate the Governor’s confidence in me and the opportunity to serve the people of New Jersey.”

Johnson brings extensive advocacy, public service, and policy experience to the Governor’s office. She previously served as a senior policy analyst at The Council of State Governments Justice Center where she provided strategic direction in launching the federally supported Justice Reinvestment Initiative.

During her time at the Council of State Governments Justice Center, she was selected to join the urgent work in Minnesota, focusing on addressing the inequities in the state’s probation system, including the lack of uniformity in local administration and the overrepresentation of Native Americans and Blacks in the system. She also previously served as Senior Counsel at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice where she championed workforce systems and housing reforms aimed at closing the racial wealth gap in New Jersey. Johnson received her Juris Doctor degree from Rutgers University Law School in Newark, New Jersey, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in international studies from Oakwood University.

The Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging in the Governor’s Office will focus on:

  • Overseeing training, coordinating programing, and developing policies to advance equity across all of state government;
  • Ensuring equity, anti-discrimination, and anti-racism considerations are integrated into all decision making across state government from specific policy matters to legislation;
  • Establishing a statewide structure to ensure stakeholders and staff improve their ability to recognize and address structural inequities; and
  • Working with the private sector to develop methods to ensure equity in their processes related to state engagements.

The Governor signed the following bills into law:

  • S-2765/A-4542 (Sweeney, Rice, Ruiz/Reynolds-Jackson, Johnson) – Requires Civil Services Commission to undertake various initiatives to increase diversity and inclusivity within law enforcement agencies.
  • S-2766/A-4517 (Sweeney, Rice/Reynolds-Jackson, McKnight, Johnson) – Requires Civil Service Commission establish mentoring program for certain civil service law enforcement applicants.
  • S-2767/A-4598 (Cryan, Rice, Sweeney, Ruiz/Reynolds-Jackson, Carter, Vainieri Huttle) – Establishes database to aid in civil service hiring process for certain law enforcement officers; requires statewide diversity analysis of law enforcement.