(CNN) – The mayor of Jersey City has added a high-profile and potentially controversial member to his administration, naming former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey to a major post on Friday.
Democrat Steven Fulop announced that McGreevey will be executive director of the Jersey City Employment and Training Commission. McGreevey will oversee a major overhaul of the commission, adding on a component that will focus on guiding former prison inmates back into the workforce.
McGreevey was a natural choice for the post, Fulop said in an interview, having spent most of his time since he left the governor's office working with female prison inmates. Fulop hopes, he said, that people will focus more on the policy aspects of McGreevey's new post and far less on the political implications.
In 2004, McGreevey resigned halfway through his term as governor after admitting an extramarital affair with a male staffer. At the time, he said "My truth is that I am a gay American."
Fulop expressed frustration with the timing of his announcement that will inevitably draw comparisons with that of individuals running for office across the Hudson River in Manhattan.
"He's not running for any sort of public office," Fulop said of McGreevey.
On Sunday, former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer announced his campaign for New York City comptroller, joining a city-wide race that already had former Rep. Anthony Weiner running for mayor. Spitzer resigned in 2008 after admitting that he paid prostitutes for sex while Weiner left Congress in 2011 after sending lewd photos of himself on Twitter. Both men are Democrats.
For Fulop, any comparison between McGreevey and Spitzer or Weiner would be "apples and oranges," he said.
McGreevey has said that he has no interest in returning to politics. And that hasn't changed. "None, zero," McGreevey said of his political aspirations in an interview Friday.
Jersey City represents a "unique laboratory" for pursuing a renewed effort on prisoner reentry and connecting training with employment, McGreevey said, with more than 1,000 former prison inmates returning to the city each year.
As for the political implications of his new job, McGreevey declined to comment directly, saying only that he had respect for Weiner and Spitzer. "I choose to focus my efforts on reentry," he said.
Fulop said that he and McGreevey first got to know each other during the former's mayoral campaign earlier this year. McGreevey was brought in to help craft Fulop's prisoner reentry platform, he said. According to Fulop, he and McGreevey discussed the commission job about a month ago.
Fulop is himself brand new to the mayor's office. He was sworn in 10 days ago and has focused his time since then on building his administration, hiring McGreevey among other posts.
As executive director, McGreevey will earn $111,000 a year, Fulop said, and will be responsible for an annual budget of $5 million.