TOMS RIVER-The Toms River Township Council voted 5-1 in favor of Mayor Maurice “Mo” Hill’s decision to keep all of previous Mayor Thomas Kelaher’s politically appointed workers, also known as “Confidential” employees. Councilman Daniel Rodrick was the lone councilman to not vote on the mixed Democrat and Republican governing body. Rodrick abstained from the vote.
Photo: Maurice “Mo” Hill. Photo courtesy of Toms River Republican Club.
After narrowly winning his election in one of the closest margins on record in township history, Hill announced that he was making all of Kelaher’s politically appointed job holders re-apply for their jobs.
“Not everyone is going to be fired,” New Jersey Assemblyman Gregory P. McGuckin told the Asbury Park Press in a letter sent to the 44 positions. Under the law, Hill is allowed to hire employees to what is essentially his “cabinet” in town hall, close advisors, political allies and often friends to positions within town hall to assist the mayor and his administration. These employees are hired at the will of the current mayor and may be fired at any time, especially in the event of a change in power at the top of the township government.
While some of Kelaher’s appointees, now Hill’s at the top of the pay scale received small pay cuts, overall, Hill increased the total payroll expenses of the confidential employee pool by $17,000 when omitting the three currently unfilled positions. Three positions were left vacant including two in-house attorneys and an assistant town hall planner position which could be filled later. Those employees either retired or resigned.
Mo added one position to the staff with the hiring of William Laird as Township Tax Assessor earning $120,000.