TOMS RIVER-Toms River Councilman Daniel Rodrick who engaged in a heated political campaign against Toms River Councilman Maurice “Mo” Hill and former Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato said on Tuesday that his campaign mailers were not anti-semitic, but anti-overdevelopment. Rodrick said that when the township council censured him for a mailer that detailed a then-secret political relationship between his opponent Hill and Scott Gartner, an Orthodox Jewish man who threatened to sue to the township over zoning restrictions for houses of worship, it was nothing more than political retribution.
Rodrick said the censure resolution by the council was intended solely to harm his credibility as a politician and to threaten his job as a middle school teacher. Rodrick claimed that during the council’s private executive session, the township attorney and the other council members did not acknowledge past anti-semitic mailers sent out by the campaigns of Mayor Thomas Kelaher and other councilmembers.
He also said the township’s in-house lawyer also had a score to settle with Rodrick who seeks to abolish the current legal services agreement in favor of outsourcing legal expenses.
“The council was advised to take this action by our in-house legal services team, the very same legal services team that I campaigned against in favor of outsourcing as a cost-saving measure that can save the taxpayers over one million dollars annually,” Rodrick said.
Rodrick said when the council was presented with the resolution for his censuring, he advised the council and the attorney of other mailers sent by members of the governing body that went far beyond Rodrick’s mailers which detailed a political alliance between Hill, Gartner and Rise Up Ocean County.
“During the primary, Mo Hill even sought and received the endorsement of Rise Up Ocean County,” Rodrick said. “A group labeled by the Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Attorney General as anti-Semitic.”
“The fact that nobody else has been censured or asked to resign demonstrates that the intention of the censure was not to protect the town but to damage my reputation,” Rodrick said.
Rodrick said he recently met with Scott Gartner to discuss their differences and said that his stance remains anti-overdevelopment and not anti-Orthodox.
“Mr. Gartner was not happy about his political lobbying efforts being featured in a mailer,” Rodrick said. “My goal was to ensure Scott that my position on zoning relates to the curbing of excessive growth and not faith.”