TOMS RIVER-At the April 14th, 2020 Toms River Township council meeting, Councilman Dan Rodrick (R) opposed a plan hatched by Mayor Mo Hill, township Democrats and Hill’s off-shoot Republican running mates to hire New Jersey Assemblyman Gregory P. McGuckin’s firm to replace low-cost in-house legal counsel.
Rodrick argued that Hill refused to adopt a proposed pay-to-play law that would limit the elected body’s ability to hire political campaign donors to large no-bid public contracts. Rodrick also noted that McGuckin was not only a political campaign donor to Hill, but had an active role in Hill’s 2019 political campaign and served as the leader of Hill’s mayoral transition team. McGuckin’s firm now earns over $2,000,000 annually in public contracts in Ocean County alone.
His firm serves as the zoning board attorney for Lakewood Township, already has a six-figure contract in Toms River and was hired to replace former GOP Chairman George Gilmore’s firm in Jackson and Lacey Township. McGuckin’s firm also was awarded a pay to play contract in Manchester Township this year. Rodrick said McGuckin has contracts in 11 towns and is abusing his political power to land no-bid public contracts.
“Pay to play politics is bankrupting the state of New Jersey, it has to stop,” Rodrick said.
The Democrats and Republicans on the town council united behind Hill, voting 6-1 for the “Hill-McGuckin Plan”. Rodrick was the lone dissenter on the council.
Rodrick and Maria Maruca represent the only members of the township council who are official members of the Toms River Republican Club. In March, Hill and McGuckin, aided by Maruca on the inside, attempted an unsuccessful coup of the local Republican Club. Hill quit the Republican club to run against it in the June 2019 primary election. He has not rejoined since. Hill was able to narrowly win his 2019 election relying heavily on an organized Orthodox Jewish bloc vote.