Yesterday the Toms River council met to discuss, amongst other things, the highly contentious proposed ordinance to slash the police department by three law enforcement officers. The meeting was attended by approximately 200 residents. Of the 34 speakers from the public not a single one rose in support of the ordinance. Now all video evidence of the meeting has been removed from YouTube by the township.

Emotions ran high during the public comment portion of the meeting with two residents being ordered removed by police at the direction of the council president.

In the end the ordinance was adopted on a 5-2 vote.

In discussion on another ordinance, this one authorizing the mayor to hire a politically connected law firm, councilman Jim Quinlisk asked the council president what the purpose of the hiring was. Mayor Rodrick responded that the firm was being hired to “help us with redevelopment.” When Quinlisk challenged the mayor about whether the firm was being hired to try to get the township out of the downtown redevelopment deal struck last year, Rodrick responded by telling Quinlisk that his comments would bring a lawsuit and yelled “you know what you need? You need a muzzle. Put a muzzle on him.”

Later in the meeting, when the public had the opportunity to speak on any topic, Toms River Regional School District Board of Education member Jennifer Howe rose to challenge Mayor Rodrick’s decision to run a text message political campaign against her that claimed that she distributed child pornography. After a heated exchange Rodrick called her “disgusting” and a “disgrace” without ever denying that he paid for the political ad.

In an unprecedented move, the livestream video has now been removed from the township’s YouTube channel without explanation. Efforts to contact township officials have gone unanswered but residents are furious.

“What are they trying to hide? We were there, it’s not like they can pretend that the meeting didn’t happen. In the 8 years that I have lived here this has never happened before. Someone needs to answer for this” said a resident of the North Dover section of town.

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