TRENTON – Senate President Richard J. Codey today announced Kathleen Crotty, longtime executive director of the Senate Majority Office, will be retiring at the end of this month.
“Kathy Crotty and I began our careers in the Legislature together in 1974,” Senator Codey said. “We’ve weathered many storms through the years, witnessed both the good and the bad, and watched as the Senate changed hands many times. Kathy has managed to thrive all these years because of her unparalleled professionalism and innate political skills.
“Along the way, she redefined what it means to be a public servant and raised the bar for everyone around her,” he said. “Few people, if any, can rival her institutional knowledge. She will be sorely missed, to say the least, but we wish her nothing but the best in her retirement.”
Senator Codey also announced that Patrick M. Gillespie of Old Bridge, who is currently the deputy director of the Senate Democrats, will become the new executive director.
“If anyone can attempt to fill Kathy’s shoes, it’s Pat Gillespie,” Senator Codey said. “Pat has dedicated both his professional and personal life to serving the public’s greater good. In addition to his broad knowledge of all things government, he is a well-liked and well-respected public servant. His demonstrated confidence and commitment make him the perfect person to help lead the Senate Majority Office as we tackle the unprecedented challenges that lie ahead.”
Ms. Crotty, joined the staff of the New Jersey Senate in 1974 as the Special Assistant to the Executive Director after eight years of service with the state Department of Labor. Throughout her career with the Legislature, she has been involved in efforts to professionalize the Legislature and its staff and expand public access to and understanding of the legislative process.
“I have had a very challenging and rewarding career with the Legislature,” Ms. Crotty said. “I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to work for many dedicated and talented legislators. I am grateful to the hundreds of professional staff I have worked with in the Legislature over the past 30 plus years for their professionalism, dedication and friendship.
“I am very pleased that Senate President Codey has appointed Patrick to succeed me. He has been a very valuable partner over the last seven years and I know he is ready to assume this new challenge,” she said.
Ms. Crotty was appointed Executive Director of the Senate Democratic Office by then-Senate President John Russo on Jan. 12, 1986. She became the first and only woman to serve as Executive Director of the Legislatures partisan staff offices and was re-appointed in 1990 by Senate President John Lynch. She has continued to serve in this position for Senator Codey since 1998.
As Executive Director, Ms. Crotty is responsible for managing the day to day operations of the New Jersey Senate, including supervision of a professional staff which provides policy and political analysis to members of the Democratic caucus. During her tenure as Executive Director, Ms. Crotty has provided staff leadership on a wide variety of legislative issues including: corporate business and property tax reform, state and local spending limitations, lobbying and ethics reform, the “Fix DMV” initiative, Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on racial profiling, prevention of domestic violence initiatives and, most recently, the Legislature’s Special Session on Property Tax Reform.
Since 1978, Ms. Crotty has also been involved in efforts to renovate and restore the State Capitol building and related historic legislative facilities. She is Chair of the State Capitol Joint Management Commission, which is responsible for the management of the State House, State House Annex and the Capitol Grounds. The Commission has overseen the development of several major Capitol improvement projects, including a new cafeteria and Welcome Center, parking garage and the State Capitol Plaza Park. Currently, Ms Crotty is serving on the Steering Committee for the Capital Park System Master Plan.
Ms. Crotty has served on the Legislative Management Committee to the National Conference of State Legislatures (1982-90) and as a member of the Suggested State Legislation Committee of the Council of State Governments.
Apart from her career in the Legislature, Ms Crotty has been involved in and advised a number of gubernatorial and legislative campaigns. A founding member of PAMS List, a political action committee devoted supporting Democratic women candidates for the State Legislature, Ms. Crotty has long been active in womens political advocacy. She currently serves on the advisory committees for Ready to Run and the Wynona Lipman Chair on Womens Political Leadership at the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.
Ms. Crotty has received the New Jersey Policy Research Organization Leadership Award sponsored by the New Jersey Business and Industry Association (2004), the Womens Political Caucus Barbara Boggs Sigmund Award (2001), the Service Award from the New Jersey Federation of Democratic Women, Mercer Chapter (1995); the Recognition Award from the Womens Political Caucus (1986). She was elected as District Delegate to the 1996 Democratic National Convention and is a former member of the New Jersey State Board of Canvassers (1996).
Ms. Crotty is a graduate of Rutgers University-Newark College of Arts and Science. She resides in Ewing.
Patrick M. Gillespie has served as the Deputy Director of the Senate Majority staff from 2002-2005 and from 2006-present.
“I am grateful to Senator Codey for providing me this opportunity,” Mr. Gillespie said. “I am also humbled by the thought of assuming the responsibilities of my friend and mentor Kathy Crotty. Over the past 35 years, she has become almost inseparable from this institution.”
Mr. Gillespie joined the Senate Democratic staff in 1993 and for several years staffed the Transportation, Community Affairs and Wagering Committees. He was appointed Smart Growth Ombudsman by Governor Codey in 2005 and served until January of 2006.
Mr. Gillespie received a bachelor’s degree from Siena College in 1988. He served as the District Director for Congressman Frank Pallone from 1988 to 1993.
He lives in Old Bridge Township with his wife and two children.