TOMS RIVER, NJ – Toms River Mayor Maurice Hill’s former campaign manager, Art Gallagher, who heads the Hill administration’s department of information and misinformation today issued a press release to spin the mayor’s latest crony hire.
Gallagher, who served on Hill’s political campaign, was able to convince local newspapers to run Mo Hill political campaign news as actual news during his campaign is now spinning the mayor’s latest hiring of defeated Toms River Councilwoman Maria Maruca to a $100k job, including benefits.
Gallagher was also given a $100k jobs, when benefits are factored in by Hill this past January.
“Mayor Maurice B. “Mo” Hill, Jr. has hired former councilwoman Maria Maruca to join his administration as Director of the Department of Human Services. The Township Council consented to Maruca’s appointment during their April 27, 2022 meeting,” Gallagher said in his press release issued from town hall. “Maruca is replacing JoAnn Benson as head of the department which oversees the Township’s senior services and outreach, municipal alliance, and the animal control facilities. Benson is retiring after a 36 year career with the Township, the last 19 years as department head.”
Gallagher stressed that is Mayor Hill’s legal right to hire as many friends and political allies as he wants under the township’s form of government.
“Under Toms River’s form of government as defined by the Faulkner Act, department heads are appointed by the mayor with the consent of the council,” Gallagher added.
Maruca, who was shown the door by voters in November, despite he past accomplishments touted by Gallagher and Hill, was praised by the tone-deaf township insiders.
“Maruca served on the Township Council from 2004 through 2021. During her tenure on the council, Maruca was a champion of Open Space acquisition, beach replenishment, recreational opportunities, and the ongoing recovery from Superstorm Sandy,” Gallagher said.
Gallagher noted that Maruca served as manager of the Toms River MVC office, another politically appointed job, not available to the regular public. Her employment at that job was terminated so Governor Phil Murphy could appoint a Brick Democrat Councilwoman to that position.
“She was the manager of the Toms River NJ MVC office on Hooper Ave for 10 years during both the Christie and Murphy administrations,” Gallagher noted, adding that her family makes good pizza. “Prior to her public service career, Maruca worked for her family’s small business, Maruca’s Tomato Pies. She was the Executive Director of Seaside Heights Business Improvement District from 2000 through 2012.”
“We’re fortunate to have a person with Maria’s compassion, management ability and leadership join the administration in this very important role,” Mayor Hill said through Gallagher’s keyboard. “Maria is uniquely qualified to fill the very big shoes being left by JoAnn Benson. No one works harder than Maria nor advocates as strongly for the people she serves.”
Maruca thanked Hil for bailing her out of a bad situation and offering her a job that, combined with benefits gives her around $130,000 per year, a substantial pay increase over her job at the MVC.
“I am honored to accept this opportunity to continue to be of service to the people of Toms River,” Maruca said. “The Department of Human Service provides critical services to our seniors, those struggling with addiction through the municipal alliance, and the animal shelter. I pledge to continue to provide high quality compassionate services to the residents who depend them.”
Gallagher is just one of three people working within Mo Hill’s ‘information ministry’.