The Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court has denied an appeal from Toms River Mayor Mo Hill relating to Hill’s efforts to re-enroll in the state’s Public Employees’ Retirement System, concluding that the PERS’s board of trustees was right to deny Hill’s request.
Hill, who was first elected to the township council in 2003 and was elected mayor in 2019, had argued that he should be able to re-enroll in PERS under a 2018 law reforming the pension program. PERS was the state’s main pension system for elected officials until 2007, after which only those who already held elected office could participate in the program.
But the board of trustees rejected Hill for not meeting the necessary qualifications, a finding with which the appellate court agreed.
“We hold [the 2018 reform law] applies only to elected officials who had fifteen years of continuous service in New Jersey elective public offices, who were elected to new offices prior to the statute’s effective date and applied for retroactive enrollment in PERS within a 180-day deadline set forth in the statute,” the court wrote. “Because Hill met neither requirement, we affirm.”
Hill was represented in court by Township Attorney (and Assemblyman) Greg McGuckin, a political ally of the mayor.
Hill is up for re-election this year after four years leading New Jersey’s eighth-largest town. He faces three challengers in the Republican primary, which is likely to be the definitive contest in the deep-red town: Geri Ambrosio, Councilman Daniel Rodrick, and Robert Bianchini.