JACKSON-The Jackson Township Council has hired Gregory P. McGuckin as the township attorney to replace Jean Cipirani for 2020. McGuckin, a New Jersey Assemblyman and transition team leader for Toms River Mayor Maurice Hill works for the firm Dasti, McGuckin and Murphy.
McGuckin’s firm has long represented the Lakewood Township zoning board where out of control high-density development has plagued the community in recent years.
McGuckin previously served as a Township Councilman in Toms River, and ran for mayor briefly before putting his campaign on hold after the IRS filed over $100,000 in tax liens against him.
The hiring of McGuckin by the township sends mixed signals as the township has aggressively attempted to block what town elected officials described as “Lakewood Development” in the town. Mailers in the 2018 election campaign produced by Mayor Michael Reina, Councilman Andrew Kern and Councilman Alex Sauickie pledged to keep “Lakewood Style Development” out of Jackson Township.
Now, the same law firm that has been the legal counsel advising the Lakewood zoning board over the past few years of rapid growth and development is representing Jackson Township. Remmington and Vernick Engineers also was hired by Jackson Township. That firm is also the Lakewood Township zoning board engineer.
The two firms were also political campaign donors to the campaign of Reina, Sauickie and Kern in 2018. McGuckin’s firm donated $2,200 to the campaign. Remmington and Vernick donated $2,000 in what appears to be a quid-pro-quo pay to play arrangement. The council unanimously voted to approve McGuckin’s contract.
Now, McGuckin, whose firm serves as legal counsel for Lakewood Township will represent the township of Jackson in legal suits filed by Agudath Israel of America against the township.
The firm was paid $71,000 by Lakewood Township in 2018, the most recent year reported in the New Jersey Election pay to play database.
McGuckin’s firm receives over $1.5 million in public contracts annually which is expected to increase significantly in 2020.