TOMS RIVER, NJ – Toms River Councilman Daniel Rodrick made a startling revelation at Tuesday’s township council meeting, he has solved the mystery of the information leak in town hall and potentially has saved residents from a lengthy, costly and unnecessary legal investigation. Rodrick claimed last night that New Jersey Assemblyman Gregory McGuckin was the leaker of information in town hall and not any of his councilmen, as the entire premise of the investigation implied.
“Information has come to my attention regarding the ongoing investigation into the alleged leaking of executive session discussions that occurred at our February 11th meeting,” Rodrick said. “A commissioner at the municipal utilities authority told me that Assemblyman Greg McGucking had taken him out to breakfast on February 5th, 6 days before our February 11th meeting -to discuss Commissioner health benefits and the MUA director position that was being vacated by Bob Dibiase.”
McGuckin, who has become an interim power broker in county politics until former Chairman George Gilmore takes his throne back in the next county chairman election has been brokering political deals across the county to enrich his own firm and to reward his political allies. McGuckin had made power moves in Jackson, Manchester and Lacey this year, expanding his firm’s annual political pay to play income well over an estimated $2 MILLION annually in the past six months.
Rodrick asserted the McGuckin’s interactions were a precursor for him to gain power with the Municipal Utilities Authority to influence the appointment of a new director so his firm can be appointed legal counsel there.
“This Commissioner said that Greg McGuckin asked him not to reappoint the Executive Director position until he got word from McGuckin,” Rodrick continued. “Given that the assemblyman is not the township attorney Mr. McGuckin had no legal basis to be negotiating who would lead the MUA or what kind of benefit packages commissioners would receive. Given that the director’s position is appointed by the commissioners, and given that the Assemblyman also discussed commissioner health benefits at that same breakfast. I can’t help but wonder whether or not the assemblyman was threatening the commissioners to gain control of the MUA?”
Not all of McGuckin’s power moves have been financially successful for his law firm. In Toms River, McGuckin and his close political partner in crime, Mayor Maurice Hill attempted a coup of the Toms River Republican Club. Their effort was thwarted by rank and file Republicans. Hill quit the Republican club earlier this year and has not rejoined.
“I want to know why the Assemblyman is so interested in influencing who is being hired to direct the Toms River MUA? Could it be because the MUA is a contract rich authority with millions in work every year,” Rodrick asked. “Now that we know who the real leak is, do we really need to spend $300 an hour to investigate this? Or, should we be asking the authorities to investigate Mr. McGuckin’s meeting? Especially if the Assemblyman was telling commissioners of an independent authority – when and – who to hire as a director, – while simultaneously discussing the commissioner’s health benefits package.”
Rodrick also was skeptical of Mo Hills’ choice of attorney hired to investigate the leaks. Hill chose Howard Mankoff, who was actually hired by McGuckin in Jackson Township to represent the town in a federal civil rights lawsuit. McGuckin who now has Jackson Mayor Michael Reina under his umbrella of control was hired by Reina in January. Mankoff is now the lead attorney representing the township against civil rights violation lawsuits.
“We’re going to have to bring in an independent agency to sort all of this out, because it turns out that the man hired to investigate this leak, “Mr. Mancoff”, just so happens to have a conflict with Assemblyman McGuckin,” Rodrick said.
Rodrick went on to blow the lid off the township council’s actions during executive session meetings, claiming that topics that are not to be legally discussed out of public view are routinely discussed in those closed-door meetings in violaton of New Jersey’s Sunshine Laws.
“I also believe that many of the conversations that have been occurring in executive session lately, do not meet the confidentiality requirements set forth by statute, and I believe they are a clear violation of the Sunshine Law,” Rodrick added. “So I am also going to be asking the Department of Community Affairs to investigate as well. We’re not supposed to be setting policy behind closed door!”
At several points during Rodrick’s testimony last night, Council President Maria Maruca banged her gavel to silence Rodrick while board Democrats Terrance Turnbach and Laurie Haryk made repeated requests to shut off Rodrick’s microphone.