By Stephen Neukam
Special Counsel to the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey Robert Scrivo spoke to a crowd of students and community members in the Mercer Room about his experiences at an event hosted by The Rebovich Institute of New Jersey Politics on April 24.
Scrivo, who graduated from Rider in 1989, serves under U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey Craig Carpenito, who also graduated from Rider in 1996. Carpenito was supposed to be the speaker at the event but was unable to make it to campus in time to speak because he was in court trying a case.
Scrivo reflected on his time at Rider and Seton Hall, where he received his juris doctor, and emphasized the importance of relationships. He detailed how relationships he struck with professors at both schools changed the trajectory of his career.
“My path changed, and it changed largely in part of relationships,” said Scrivo. “People, places, things — they are really key.”
In his role, Scrivo explained, he serves as the liaison between the U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO) and state, county and municipal law enforcement agencies.
According to Scrivo, the relationship between the USAO and state offices was strained prior to Carpenito’s appointment. At the beginning of his time as special counsel, Scrivo said he sent surveys to a number of county prosecutors that the USAO dealt with. The responses indicated that the prosecutors felt the relationship with USAO was not helpful.
“Almost to a person, [prosecutors] told me ‘when the [USAO] calls upon [county prosecutors], they summon us to their office and they want information from us and are hesitant to share with us, and they take our cases,’” said Scrivo.
Scrivo leaned on his value of relationships that he developed in college and professionally to try and create a better partnership with individuals at the state, county and municipal levels.
“If you’re building relationships with people, it’s not a one-way street,” said Scrivo. “Go and listen — be a good listener. That’s what [we] have tried to do.”
Scrivo, who attended Rider as a marketing major, recalled some of his experiences at Rider. He humorously reflected on his time as a DJ at the Pub, which he said earned him some money as a college student and helped him secure a job as a DJ for law firms in New Jersey that hosted fundraisers.
He also remembered the time a professor of his was teaching a class about eye witness reports. The professor had someone run into the classroom and steal something from his desk and then asked the students to describe the characteristics of the individual who ran into the room and left. According to Scrivo, as he had expected, the answers were all over the place.
“It’s 32 years later and I’m recalling this story for you folks because it had an impression on me,” said Scrivo.
Although Carpenito did not make it in time to give remarks, he did make it to campus in time to wish Associate Professor of Political Science Harvey Kornberg, who taught Carpenito, well upon his retirement at the end of the semester.
Junior political science major Charles Palmer thought that the night encapsulated the potential of a Rider education and showcased the rich history of successful graduates.
“I enjoy having alumni back because they highlight the experiences and opportunities that this university has given to them,” said Palmer. “The event provided an in-depth look at the responsibilities Craig Carpenito has while acknowledging that Rider, and more specifically professor Kornberg, has helped him tremendously along the way.”