JACKSON, NJ – Jackson Township Mayor Michael Reina, one of the state’s most notorious double-dippers and patronage job holders once told the residents of his community that he was not allowed to take a salary while holding two public jobs. During the administration of former Governor Chris Christie, Christie enacted a policy that no state employee can take two contracts. Reina was appointed by Christie to a political patronage job at the New Jersey Department of Homeland Security.
Christie and Reina had a falling out in 2013 when Christie demanded Reina to stop taking his salary as mayor. Reina said he obliged, chastizing his former political ally for, “taking food off my table,” as he put it at the time. Reina eventually left his state job to get a county job at the Ocean County Bridge Department where he could once again legally start taking his mayoral salary.
Records provided by the township of Jackson however paint a different picture. Reina did receive monthly paychecks from Jackson Township, according to records provided to Shore News Network by Township Clerk Janice Kisty.
It turns out, all those times Reina was crying the blues about Governor Chris Christie about not getting a salary for his job as mayor in Jackson, he was actually getting paid, but just hiding it.
Today, Reina still serves as supervisor of bridges for Ocean County and earns over $120,000 annually. The Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders have not yet renewed Reina’s contract, which expires on January 31, 2020, but they are expected to renew it.
Reina has three employee grievances filed against him and at least two lawsuits by former employees claiming workplace harassment, including one from a disabled worker and another from a woman who claims Reina’s late-night visit to her duty station was harassing. He is also a subject in an FBI investigation by former “Operation Bid Rig” Special Agent Shawn McCarthy.
In Jackson, as mayor, Reina is facing two lawsuits by former employees and several civil rights lawsuits. Reina is also the subject of a Department of Justice investigation and lawsuit claiming civil rights violations.