Politics as usual? Or something more sinister?
Republican Toms River Mayor Mo Hill says Democrat Governor Phil Murphy has removed him from the Board of Commissioners of the South Jersey Transportation Authority (SJTA), and Hill – a retired admiral – says it’s retaliation.
“I enjoyed my service 11 years of service on the SJTA,” said Hill in a statement issued on Tuesday. “I am especially pleased that my service led to improved public safety in Toms River. I was able to work with NJDOT Commissioner, Diane Gutierrez-Scacetti to increase the time interval of the left turn signals on both the Whitesville Rd. and Rt. 70 and Massachusetts Ave. and Rt. 70 intersections. That has resulted in a 75% reduction of traffic accidents with no fatalities.”
Murphy’s chosen replacement is Zoe Baldwin, an ex-staffer for both U.S. Senator Cory Booker and the late Frank Lautenberg. She was confirmed by the State Senate on Monday.
Hill says his criticism of the Murphy Administration and, in particular, the Administration’s school funding formula and its DEP’s plan to develop contaminated land in Toms River motivated Murphy’s decision to replace him.
The mayor is currently seeking another term in office with official county backing but needs to traverse a busy and competitive primary field that includes Gilmore ally and local GOP leader Geri Ambrosio, Councilman Daniel Rodrick, and Asbury Park engineer Robert Bianchini.