New Jersey Cannot Reject Atlantic City Government Remodeling

New Jersey Cannot Reject Atlantic City Government Remodeling

The state of New Jersey will not have the authority to reject a new government remodeling initiative backed by Atlantic City casinos. The remodel will be sent for a public referendum in March.

New Jersey stated otherwise

The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) previously said that the March 31 ballot in Atlantic City could be rejected by the state. They cited the 2016 takeover legislation called Municipal Stabilization and Recovery Act (MSRA) and said that the law gives the department power to provide advisory authority on any referendum or initiatives in the city.

New Jersey Cannot Reject Atlantic City Government Remodeling

However, now the Press of Atlantic City, suggests that the state does not wield power to reject the referendum results. It suggests that an initiative to change the city’s nature of government is covered under a completely different state statute. Talking to POAC, City Council President George Tibbitt said that he was informed by DCA Deputy Commissioner Rob Long about the scope of their authority. He added that the department could not view the referendum as purely advisory.

Casinos back the proposal

The new campaign called Atlantic City Residents for Good Government (ACRGG) is being supported by Unite Here Local 54 casino workers union. Other backers include former state senator Ray Lesniak who helped push the legalization of sports betting in the state and Resorts Casino owner Morris Bailey. The new proposal reduces the role of a mayor significantly and favors the adoption of a “municipal-manager” form of government. They aim to reduce rampant corruption by city officials with the initiative.

The city’s government has long been haunted by corruption charges. Its last mayor Frank Gilliam Jr. pleaded guilty to stealing money from a youth basketball team. He was charged for wire fraud. Back in 2007, Mayor Robert Levy defrauded the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. According to the Associated Press, four of the last eight mayors in the city have been involved in corruption. Interestingly, a third of the Atlantic City council members are either under house arrest or serving time in prison.

The new municipal-manager model allows the position of a mayor, but he is only a figurehead that the council selects. He will not be a directly elected head of the city government. The council, which is an elected representative body, will be advised by a municipal manager who will be its chief advisor. The council can remove the manager if they vote against him in the majority.

About sherlock

Sherlock Gomes loves to write and express his views on anything related to Gaming, Gambling, & Casino. He has been covering Gaming for more than two years now.