Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order Friday establishing the Atlantic City Coordinating Council to help implement the changes recommended in the Atlantic City: Building a Foundation for a Shared Prosperity report by special counsel Jim Johnson.
Murphy formed the Atlantic City Executive Council earlier this year.
Joe Jingoli, CEO of construction firm Joseph Jingoli & Son Inc. and a member of the executive council, welcomed the move. Jingoli told ROI-NJ that the groups will be focused on implementing the recommendations in the report, and that they will be doing so in a way that is inclusive rather than dictatorial.
“There’s something about sitting across from someone … in the same community that creates gravity,” he said. “It’s like-minded men and women creating some gravity for good.
“It moves the ball, it’s good. “
In the executive order, the governor has directed all state agencies to aid the council in any way they can, and that is feasible. Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver will lead both councils.
Murphy, in his announcement of the executive order at the New Jersey State League of Municipalities conference in the city, emphasized he isn’t interested in taking over Atlantic City.
“I was critical of the state takeover of Atlantic City in 2016,” he said. “I do not believe in the state coming in and big-footing local control. But, I also accepted that Atlantic City needed help from the state.
“So, we created a new model for partnership. Instead of the state putting its foot on Atlantic City’s neck, we picked the city up, so we could stand together as partners. Instead of dictating, Shelia Oliver and I asked Jim Johnson to come in, take a deep dive and create the path forward, so the city can stand again on its own feet.
“As a result, we have a new plan for returning Atlantic City to full local control. Already, the city’s bond rating has been upgraded, and its future prognosis is looking brighter by the day.”
The executive order reflects this sentiment.
“The council shall be purely advisory in nature and shall report to the governor at least once every six months, outlining specific recommendations as directed in this order,” the order reads.
The new Coordinating Council will include 19 members, as well as additional members appointed by the governor, should he determine it appropriate, “who shall serve at the pleasure of the governor,” according to the executive order.
The 19 members include political leaders, business leaders and neighborhood groups in the city, including:
- The lieutenant governor;
- The commissioners of the Departments of Agriculture, Children and Families, Corrections, Education, Health, Human Services, Labor and Workforce Development, and Transportation, or their respective designees;
- The deputy commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs, the director of the Division of Local Government Services, the attorney general, the treasurer, the secretary of Higher Education, the executive director of the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, the CEO of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, the executive director of New Jersey Transit, the director of the Authorities Unit, and the chair of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, or their respective designees.