TOMS RIVER, NJ – Last November, the voters of Toms River sent a clear message to Mayor Maurice Hill and his splinter Republican faction when they overwhelmingly voted against Hill’s candidates, including former Councilwoman Maria Maruca.
If you want a public job in Toms River, it’s not what you know; it’s who you know, and Mayor Hill makes it very clear in his administration that high-paying public jobs are only given to political insiders.
This year, Hill hired his former campaign social media guy, Art Gallagher to a $99,000 job. Earlier, he hired Jackson Township Republican Club President Todd Porter, who was censured by the RNC for antisemitism to a job in the town’s building department. The list of political pay to play and patronage hires by Mo Hill is nearly endless.
Now, Hill’s close confidant Maruca is being hired to a $136,000 per year job, plus benefits to manage the township’s senior center. The move by Hill comes as the FBI is investigating the hiring practices of Ocean County politicians. Last year, the Attorney General’s Office announced it was investigating Toms River officials for hiring practices and possible health benefits abuse.
Maruca, a state employee who works for the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, earning $77,000 per year is about to lose her political patronage job at the Toms River branch of the MVC, where she works as the supervisor of that office.
That job, a politically appointed job, will soon be going to a Brick Township Democrat Councilwoman. Such is the way of public jobs. Maruca earned her political stripes as a politician under Chris Christie to get that job. Now, whatever deal Maruca made with the Democrat party to keep that job four years into the Murphy administration has expired.
Councilman Daniel Rodrick, whose team defeated Maruca in 2021 last year, told residents Maruca was not qualified to be a councilwoman. Now, he’s saying she’s definitely not qualified for the six-figure job Mayor Hill and his political allies are going to award her Wednesday night.
“Maria Maruca has no experience in senior services and is not qualified for the position,” Rodrick said. “Mayor Hill continues to waste taxpayer dollars on hiring his friends and rewarding his political contributors. All while property taxes soar and quality of life declines here in Toms River. Mayor Mo needs to go!”
Unlike most Americans, who lose their job and have to hit the job market, the privileged political class in New Jersey doesn’t have to job hunt. They have friends. In this case, Toms River Mayor Maurice Hill has lined Maruca up with a public job that pays nearly twice as much as the one she has now.
That job is currently being held by political insider Joann Benson who receives $136,000 per year, plus benefits to serve as the Director of the Toms River Senior Center.
The council will vote on Maruca’s hiring at tonight’s council meeting.