Jackson Township public relations firm owner running for political office

JACKSON TOWNSHIP, NJ – Steve Dnistrian, the owner/operator of a public relations firm hired by Jackson Township to write press releases for the township body, has announced he is running for political office, creating a possible conflict of interest for the township.

Jackson Township is a non-partisan township, and Dnistrian has announced he is running for New Jersey State Senate against Vin Gopal as a Republican in a partisan election.

It has always been frowned upon in municipal circles to avoid using political operatives and elected officials as public information officers. Several years ago, Democrat political operative John Salonis was forced to step down as the township’s public information officer over his political activities in Brick Township.

Last year, Dnistrian’s opponent, Vin Gopal’s firm, served as a public information officer for Toms River Mayor Maurice Hill. Gopal says he has since sold that firm and no longer has any financial interest citing routine conflicts of interest.

Dinistrian is a political ally to Monmouth County GOP Chairman Shawn Goldman. He also serves on the Colts Neck Zoning Board of Adjustment and Monmouth County Tax Board.

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He was hired by Jackson Township shortly before the 2022 election via a no-bid, non-advertised contract.

Dnistrian said he is an advocate for smaller government and less government spending, but is paid approximately $40,000 per year in Jackson Township to write press releases for the local municipal government.

“We need less government in our lives, not more; strong law and order, not attacks on our police officers; financial discipline, not reckless spending,” Dnistrian said today.

Dnistrian is paid, ironically, to inject government into the lives of everyday residents through his position in Jackson Township.