Toms River hires ousted Atlantic City mayor as business administrator
Atlantic City's Republican mayor will be getting a longer commute after his term ends next month.
Don Guardian, who lost handily in the November election to Democrat Frank Gilliam Jr., has been hired by Toms River to be the municipal business administrator starting Jan. 1. He will replace Paul Shives, who resigned earlier this year.
Guardian — whose administration worked (sometimes at loggerheads) with the state to turn around a once near-bankrupt resort city — will now help oversee a $125.6 million budget of an Ocean County municipality that was battered by Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
Toms River's mayor, Tom Kelaher, is also a Republican.
"I believe my experience over the past four years has helped me tremendously in preparing for this important municipal government position," Guardian said in a statement Wednesday. "And it completes a circle that started for me personally 42 years ago. I have nothing but great memories of Toms River and Ocean County. From 1975 until 1980, my first job out of college was with the Boy Scouts of America and I was directly assigned to serve the residents of Toms River and Ocean County."
Townsquare Media New Jersey station WPG Talk Radio in Atlantic City reports that Guardian will receive a salary of $175,000. Kelaher has not yet announced the hiring Wednesday.
The Christie administration took over the city's finances last November. A year later, both Christie and Guardian were competing to take credit for the financial turnaround, which included an 11 percent decrease in the tax rate, and the lowest tax levy in nearly three decades. The city's troubles had been caused in part by a sinking casino industry, which had resulted in less tax revenue for the city.