Bob Braun has written an astonishing column about the arrogance of power.

Chris Cerf, who was previously the Commissioner of Education in New Jersey, stepped in to take control of the Newark public schools after the unpopular Cami Anderson stepped down. Cerf is a bona fide reformer, having previously worked for for-profit Edison Schools and as deputy chancellor to Joel Klein in New York City.

Cerf’s chief of staff is De’Shawn Wright, who began his education career in Teach for America, then moved from one policy position to another.

Braun stumbles upon a mystery: Who pays Wright’s salary?

Wright, a champion of charter schools in Washington, DC, New York, and Newark, and past associate of Cerf and Cerf’s protégé and predecessor, Cami Anderson, is Cerf’s chief of staff, according to an organizational chart released at Tuesday night’s board meeting. Wright is paid a six figure salary but exactly how much is a secret–as is the source of his income.

Although Wright is probably the second most powerful figure in the Newark schools, he doesn’t work for the Newark schools.

Got that? Let’s repeat it: Although Wright is probably the second most powerful figure in the Newark schools, he doesn’t work for the Newark schools.

Who does he work for? Probably for the Fund for Newark’s Future–otherwise known as what’s left of the $100 million Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg gave to the Newark schools. But that hasn’t yet been confirmed because the fund is a private organization and not subject to New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act (OPRA). Or some other private foundation devoted to the expansion of charter schools.

Braun began sleuthing:

So how can a school system hire as staff chief someone who doesn’t work for it?

Answer: It doesn’t. Someone else hires him–but you’re not allowed to know.

Only in Newark.

This reporter asked Valerie Wilson, the school’s business administrator, who pays Wright and how much and for whom he really works. She said she didn’t know.

Repeat that: The business administrator of the Newark schools doesn’t know who pays the superintendent’s chief of staff–or how much he is paid.

So then I asked board member Dashay Carter, who, to her credit, is one of the few board members uncomfortable with this unique arrangement.

“We haven’t been told,” she said.

Newark school board members, elected by the city’s residents, are not allowed to know who pays the salary of the superintendent’s chief of staff.

So then this reporter asked Wright who pays his salary. He said I should ask the press officer for Cerf and then he literally ran away. Well, ok, he walked fast away.

Wright refused to say who pays him.

Braun spent 50 years as an investigative reporter for the Newark Star-Ledger. He couldn’t stand not knowing. But no one is talking.

What gives?