TRENTON - Wayne Bryant's employment records at the School of Osteopathic Medicine listed him as working three days a week, even though he usually appeared on campus just one morning a week.
John Crosbie, the school's director of strategic planning, said he told the school's dean in 2005 that he was confused by this discrepancy.
The dean, R. Michael Gallagher, reacted sharply, Crosbie said yesterday, stopping "just short of calling me an idiot."
" 'Of course we had to give him three days,' " Crosbie recalled Gallagher as saying. " 'That's how he could qualify for his pension.' "
Bryant, a former powerful state senator, has been accused of accepting the job as a bribe for his influence as chair of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, then steering millions in state aid to the school.
He also has been accused of pension fraud because his employment at the school, which is part of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, inflated the value of his public retirement plan.
Gallagher has been accused of devising a crooked hiring process to bring Bryant onto the payroll, then hiding the nature of their arrangement.
Testimony in the federal trial, which is in its second week, opened yesterday with three UMDNJ human-resources and compensation employees. Two of them explained that an employee working more than 20 hours a week would be eligible for benefits such as medical coverage and a pension.
Bryant, a Camden County Democrat, was listed as working 22.5 hours a week.
In a 2005 memo shown in court, composed after a media inquiry about Bryant's job, Gallagher wrote that Bryant's records were in error and his working three days a week would be "absurd."
"I have been clear, consistent and have publicly acknowledged through his employment that he is employed [one day a week]," Gallagher wrote.
Crosbie said Gallagher wanted to "create as much of a paper trail as possible" to support the assertion that Bryant should only have been working one day a week.
Bryant had been employed at the school, in Stratford, since March 2003.
Crosbie said the memo was part of a "cover-up," a characterization that was met by an unsuccessful objection from one of Gallagher's attorneys.
Crosbie was one of two top UMDNJ officials given immunity for his testimony. The other, Robert Prodoehl, Gallagher's former chief of staff, already has taken the stand.
Both testified about how the school received $2.3 million in new state money a few months after Bryant was hired, and then received an $800,000 state grant.
Bryant got a positive review after his first year of employment, and was given a 5 percent raise and a $5,000 bonus - an amount Crosbie and Prodoehl said was unprecedented for a part-time employee.
Crosbie said the review was "based on the senator's help . . . in obtaining funding in Trenton," not for work Bryant performed under his actual job description as a program support coordinator.
Crosbie also took part in Bryant's job interview. He said he asked at the time if it was proper for Bryant to work for the school. Bryant said he would check with the Office of Legislative Services, which provides legal advice to members of the Legislature.
Bryant called back and said he had been advised "there was no problem," Crosbie said. Prosecutors have said Bryant did not actually seek an opinion from the office.
Crosbie also described Bryant's helping to set up meetings between school officials and the state treasurer and commissioner of health to seek funding.
Neither effort was successful, which Bryant attorney Carl Poplar noted in his cross-examination.
"Notwithstanding his monumental clout, nothing happened," Poplar said.
Bryant did not run for reelection last year after he was indicted. Gallagher resigned from the osteopathic school in 2006.
Crosbie's cross-examination is scheduled to continue today.