TOMS RIVER-Maurice “Mo” Hill, the mayor of elect Toms River has been a councilman appeared to follow on a campaign promise to purge town hall of his opponents and allies of the current administration of Mayor Thomas Kelaher. Hill has signaled many times he and Kelaher do not see eye to eye. During the campaign, many speculated that Hill would fire many of Kelaher’s insiders if he should become mayor.
“I have been screwed by two Marines in my life,” Hill told a representative of Shore News Network during his campaign. “Kelaher and Stilton.”
The move is typical when rival political parties take political control over towns like Toms River, but is virtually unheard of when members of the same political party assume control. Mo Hill during his past 15 years as a councilman has been silent on the 44 or so politically appointed hires by current Mayor Thomas Kelaher. Now, he wants all of Kelaher’s people to kiss the ring too keep their jobs.
It’s not like Hill announced a reduction in jobs…just a change in who holds those jobs. Those jobs will most likely be filled by political cronies and job postings for the public may never see the light of day before the last job is filled ahead of the January 1st reorganization.
“Not everybody is being fired,” Hill said as he and his transition team leader, New Jersey Assemblyman Gregory P. McGuckin begin their job of appointing their own political allies to jobs within town hall, as has been the suspected course of action since the June primary election.
Hill said that the 44 employees who have been targeted are welcome to resubmit their resumes if they wish to continue employment within Hill’s heavy-handed administration.
“We want to know who is willing to work with the new administration,” Hill said in a letter sent to the employees by McGuckin. “You want people who are focused with moving ahead in the areas we’ve designated.”
It is expected that those who did not support Hill’s re-election campaign in a local Republican party divided may be the ones getting the axe by the new mayor.
Speculation has already begun in town as Hill prepares to appoint campaign staffers and those close to his inner circle to those high paying positions in town hall, including Toms River Patch beat reporter Karen Wall and Hill consigliere Art Gallagher, who Hill paid nearly $100,000 to during his year-long political campaigns.