Jim McGreevey mounting his own comeback — sort of

FILE - In this April 27, 2007 file photo, former New Jersey Gov. James E. McGreevey is shown in Elizabeth, N.J. McGreevey's pursuit of the Episcopal priesthood has been put on hold indefinitely. The New York Post reports that the church has rejected his bid to join the clergy. The church wants McGreevey to wait so he can put more distance between his possible ordination and his 2004 coming out as a self-described "gay American," his simultaneous resignation and a messy divorce finalized in 2008. (AP Photo/Mike Derer, Pool, File)
Former New Jersey governor  James E. McGreevey, shown in 2007. (Mike Derer/AP)

The year of the political comeback just became even moreso.

Mere days after former New York governor Eliot Spitzer (D) became the second disgraced New York politician to seek a comeback in this fall's New York City elections, former New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey (D) accepted a position in the public sector.

McGreevey, who resigned in 2004 amidst controversies over appointees and his affair with another man, will head up Jersey City's employment and training commission. In recent years, McGreevey has worked with prison inmates.

In his new position, McGreevey will continue to work with inmate as the city's new mayor, Steven M. Fulop, launches a new prison re-entry program.

The position is not elected but could be seen as an indication that McGreevey is interested in a return to politics. Still, McGreevey, who has long said he won't return to politics, continues to say that's the case.

He said the move was all about creating new opportunities for ex-offenders and that he has no desire to become the latest political comeback story.

"No interest at all," McGreevey told Post Politics. "But I do have an interest in making government work and linking in pragmatic terms the need for skills that can translate into a tangible job opportunity."

Fulop confirmed that McGreevey doesn't view the position as a return to politics -- or even a first step toward that goal. He noted that the position represents a natural progression for McGreevey to work on the issues he has focused on for years.

"If you were to ask him, he would tell you that he’s never running for office again," Fulop said. "And I don’t think there’s any interest there."

Asked why he has chosen to return to the public sector rather than continue his private efforts, McGreevey noted that he will continue to work directly with inmates in Hudson County, as he has for years. But he said this new job provides bigger opportunities.

He said taking this position allows him to "lay the tracks to design a system that links skill-based development with an actual job will help a lot of offenders."

The Fix earlier this week looked at the odds of Spitzer, McGreevey and other politicians completing successful political comebacks.

Updated at 2:30 p.m.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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Aaron Blake · July 12, 2013