SOUTH TOMS RIVER-Democrats have taken power in the small borough of South Toms River and at this weekend’s reorganization meeting, as anticipated, began doling out contracts to political allies and campaign donors.
The meeting started with Brick Township Mayor John Ducey, a staunch ally of Governor Phil Murphy swearing in newly elected Democrat Mayor Gregory Handshy.
Handshy won his election in November in the small borough by gaining just 525 votes.
When it came time to reorganize the local government, Handshy attempted to sneak in Maser Consulting as the municipal engineer, a known big spending Democrat Party campaign financer in New Jersey. Mayor Handshy was questioned by Councilman Ross, asking Handshy why he is appointing a firm that charges considerably more than their existing firm.
“That proposal is a substantially higher cost than other proposals,” Ross said to Handshy. “I question why in the interest of stabilizing taxes are we are appointing somebody who is that much more expensive…that’s $160 an hour versus $120 an hour?”
“I think they’re pretty comparative in price,” Handshy responded. Handshy continued to lobby for the Democrat allied-firm that dumps tens of thousands of dollars into political campaigns annually, receiving professional contracts from the winners afterward.
“That’s your opinion,” he told Ross after Ross said the current engineer is fully qualified and has been doing a good job for the borough. “He’s a better-qualified engineer, too”
Handshy continued lobbying for the firm who donated at least $5,200, according to New Jersey election campaign finance reports to the campaign of Brick Township Mayor John Ducey and his running mates in 2017.
“I don’t question their qualifications,” Ross said of Maser. “Why are we going with somebody so much more expensive?”
The vote on the council was tied 3-3, leaving Handshy as the deciding vote on the matter, he voted yes.
“We have two options of qualified engineers,” Ross said to Handshy. “Why are we going with somebody who is so much more expensive?”
“He’s not so much more expensive,” Handshy responded. ”