TOMS RIVER, NJ – Toms River Mayor Maurice Hill is from the government and he’s here to help you…get the facts.
Whether its the facts regarding Hill’s hiring of millions of dollars of annual patronage jobs, his vision to turn downtown Toms River into a city or what to think about your recent 50% property tax increase, he’ll spell it all out in his upcoming newspaper.
On Wednesday, in a 5-2 vote, the Toms River council voted to approve the publication of a government-sponsored newspaper that will be printed and mailed out to every home in the township.
The township approved a purchase of $37,900 for the first two editions of the paper. That contract was left open-ended so that future editions could be approved.
Council President Kevin Geohegan, the same councilman who paid a private investigator to spy on another councilman this past spring praised the government paper, saying, “A lot of people seem to be uninformed. It’s intended to be truthful and factual. It’s not a political piece.”
It was made known last week that Geoghegan worked with Toms River Township Director of Public Law Greg McGuckin to spy on Councilman Justin Lamb. Geoghegan promised the community that Hill’s new newspaper would not be political.
Currently, the $37,900 contract was awarded to UrnerBarry to print editions in September and November of 2022.
Councilman Lamb questioned why Geoghegan intentionally hid the amount of the contract in the public meeting agenda, where it is usually listed in resolutions.
Councilman Daniel Rodrick said the idea of a community newsletter sounds good, he couldn’t trust that in the hands of the administration of Mayor Hill and Geoghegan, it would be used instead to promote Hill and his candidates in the 2023 election.
That concern was backed up by Hill’s most recent public hiring of Art Gallagher, who worked as a political campaign consultant for Hill’s 2019 election campaign and as recently as 2021 for the Ocean County GOP campaign season.
Gallagher currently writes all of the press releases currently issued by Hill. Gallagher routinely omits comments made from Lamb and Rodrick in those releases which focus almost entirely on Mo Hill and his council allies.
“This is the first ever newsletter that the township is doing,” Councilman Matt Lotano, a developer with an office in downtown Toms River told the residents in attendance. This comes as most privately funded newspapers in Ocean County have gone out of business and/or have retreated to online news delivery in recent years.
Now, the township’s first newspaper will be run by an administration that has actively spied on a member of its governing body, written by a paid political consultant with decades of earning money from the Monmouth and Ocean County Republican organizations to create paid campaign propaganda.
We’re not buying it. Unfortunately, the residents of Toms River will be the ones footing the bill.