STAFFORD – Township administrator James Moran changed his retirement date in the days that followed the June, 2018 primary election and moved it up by two months from March to January of 2019, according to state pension records reviewed by Ocean County Politics.
Was the writing on the wall for Stafford Township Administrator James Moran in the days that followed the June primary election? Moran and his future employment have been the subject of speculation in the weeks that followed the primary election, and newly obtained records from the state Division of Pensions and Benefits – and the timeline that they show – have shed more light on Moran’s situation.
On June 5th, 2018 the Republican primary voters of Stafford dealt a surprise to the incumbent team led by Mayor John Spodofora and his slate of GOP council candidates, which have provided better job security to Moran, a political supporter of Spdodofora’s.
Despite past scandals, including exaggerations about his military service record, Spodofora was able to remain politically viable for the past few election cycles, but the 2018 race resulted in an upheaval of the township’s Republican establishment’s control, as the Stafford Conservatives slate of candidates led by mayoral candidate Gregory Myhre sweeped the primary.
Moran Pension Application Filed Less Than A Week After GOP Primary Upset
By the Tuesday that followed primary day, Stafford Administrator Jim Moran put in a new retirement application with the state Division of Pensions and Benefits. That is according newly made public copies of applications for retirement allowance filed by Moran provided in response to a request made under the state’s Open Public Records Act (OPRA) on Monday.
Stafford Township Clerk Linda Martin previously denied that Mr. Moran put in for retirement in response to a late July OPRA request. At the time, she said that no letter of resignation is currently on file with the township from Moran.
In a followup to that public records request, Martin said that she spoke with Moran and the Stafford administrator confirmed that he did not submit any retirement application as of July 30th, 2018.
State pension records provided in response to another OPRA request on Monday told a different story, and showed retirement applications filed on behalf of Moran going as far back as May of this year.
They indicated that on May 9th, 2018, Mr. Moran submitted his first retirement application through the state’s Member Benefits Online Services (MBOS) portal for individuals enrolled in the state pension system.
In his initial retirement application, Moran selected pension option “B” and set a retirement date of March 1st, 2019. The application was timestamped as being received at 4:49 PM on May 9th, according to a copy of the application provided by state pension officials.
On the morning of June 11th, 2018, which was less than a week after the primary election, state pension records showed that Moran submitted a new application for retirement allowance.
The new retirement application set the Stafford administrator’s retirement date to January 1st, 2019 changed his pension option to “C.”
Moran’s current employment contract with the township does not expire until 2020, according to documents released in response to a November, 2017 OPRA request seeking Moran’s recent employment contracts.
For pension calculation purposes, Moran’s salary has been recorded at $191,199. He had 31 years and 2 months of pensionable service, according to state pension records.