TOMS RIVER-As a political power struggle ensues in Toms River, one man, on the outs with both Democrats and Republicans could end up holding the prize at the end of the day if certain things happen. Toms River Councilman Daniel Rodrick was recently censured by the Toms River Township Council because of his campaign messaging that outed his opponent, Maurice Hill’s off-color relationship with Scott Gartner. Gartner, if you remember is the Orthodox Jewish community leader who threatened a $500,000 war chest to use against the township in a lawsuit if the town did not change an ordinance that required a 10 acre minimum on houses of worship.
After the election, Rodrick was censured by both Democrats and Republicans on the Toms River Council who called his advertisement showing Maurice and Gartner shaking hands and chumming it up. At the time, Hill refuted his relationship to Gartner, but the day before election day, official state election records showed Rodrick was right.
Now, Rodrick has one more chance to become the most important elected official in Toms River.
Currently, Democrats hold three of seven seats. Republicans hold three seats. Rodrick, who has fallen out of favor with both holds the deciding vote on any partisan split legislation that could come before the council. If that mix stays the same and Democrats fail to gain more seats in November, regardless of who wins the mayoral election, Rodrick could be in a power position for the next two years.
That means come January, when Maurice Hill, should he win, begins doling out jobs to his campaign supporters and dishing out favors owed to GOP Chairman Frank B. Holman, III, Rodrick would essentially have the final say on who gets the job and who doesn’t if the two rival parties are split on appointments. Don’t let anyone fool you. Everything that happens in the final few months during a municipal election year is about the appointment of millions of dollars worth of professional contracts and services.
While the Holman faction of the party pushes to replace Gilmore allies at all levels of municipal and county government, the final say would be Rodrick’s when it comes to a vote on each professional, which could see Lacey Township lawyer Jerry Dasti and Toms River lawyer Gregory McGuckin sitting on the sidelines after waiting decades to take spots left vacant by the departure of former county chairman George Gilmore.
Should Jonathan Petro win the mayoral election and none of his council running mates win, Rodrick could also serve as gate keeper, with the power to decide which Democrat professional firms get jobs and which ones don’t.
While he wouldn’t be the mayor of the township, Rodrick would retain the power to keep both Democrats and Republicans honest until the next election in 2021.