Stepping in as mayor, AC Council president says city 'putting a chapter behind it'

David Madden
October 04, 2019 - 8:01 am
Atlantic City Council President Marty Small

Tim Jimenez/KYW Newsradio

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UPDATED: 3:35 p.m.

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — Following the guilty plea of Frank Gilliam and his subsequent resignation as mayor of Atlantic City, there’s a new man in charge. 

City Council President Marty Small was sworn in as the city's acting mayor during a private ceremony Friday. He will keep that position while a replacement is sought. 

Related: Atlantic City mayor resigns after admitting to ripping off youth sports league

Small would not address Gilliam’s situation on Friday, but asked people to pray for the former mayor and his family. 

"There will be bumps and bruises in the road," he said. "But just know one thing, that my heart is for this city. My heart is for the people and this is a responsibility that I take very serious. And I am going to give you my all every day possible."

 

Small will continue to serve as City Council president while serving as mayor. Democratic party leaders in Atlantic County will submit three names to City Council, and that body will select who serves out the remainder of Gilliam’s term. Small wants to be on that list, but he said he knows he’ll have to earn that. 

The acting mayor vows to continue to work on changing the town’s real estate tax structure and working with New Jersey officials, because Atlantic City is under state control for at least the next two years.

"I just know what I’m gonna bring to the table," Small said Friday morning before the swearing in. "I’m lifelong in this community. People have a lot of confidence in me, and for those who don’t have confidence in me, I hope to win their confidence and support in the very near future."

He said his focus is on moving Atlantic City forward.

"The city’s putting a chapter behind it," he added. "We’re gonna move forward."

Small acknowledges that trust in public officials may be an issue for residents after what has happened, but he said he’ll do his best to change that.

"The whole thing was a distraction, but as I said to people, it’s important not to be distracted. Today’s a big day. I pledge to do my all for the residents of the city of Atlantic City."

And fortunately, he said, he's no stranger to the day-to-day operations of city government.

"I was already in the government, so we have those relationships. I know all of the issues, but now I’m just transitioning from the legislative side to the administrative side."  

Just before city offices closed on Thursday, Gilliam submitted a brief letter of resignation in which he apologized "to the residents of the great City of Atlantic City who deserve stability and respect."

He admitted in court that he stole $87,000 from a youth basketball league, which he helped start.

Gilliam faces a sentencing hearing in January on a single federal wire fraud charge, which could land him in prison for up to 20 years, though federal sentencing guidelines suggest he’ll receive a far shorter term.

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KYW Newsradio's Tim Jimenez contributed to this report.