Atlantic City Executive Council: Building a strong foundation for the future

Atlantic City on the Rise

By New Jersey Department of Community Affairs
Atlantic City | Jul 11, 2019 at 2:00 am
From our print edition

There is economic opportunity and a promise of renewal in Atlantic City with the opening of a new college campus, new businesses and the reopening of two once-closed casinos. Exciting things are taking shape under Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration, and the Department of Community Affairs has seized the chance to strategically plan a path to help move the city forward.

The plan is embodied in the “Atlantic City: Building a Foundation for a Shared Prosperity” report, often called the Transition Report, that was released in September 2018 and provides recommendations for the process of returning Atlantic City to local control. The report revealed that it will take sustained cooperation and hard work by the city, state, community, businesses and key stakeholders to help Atlantic City rise to where it ought to be — a thriving community and top destination for people to visit.

Partners in this effort understand they need to do many things well and they need to ensure the work produces real progress for the residents of Atlantic City and its many diverse organizations and business enterprises. 

Under the guidance of Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver and Jim Johnson, special counsel in the Governor’s Office, the state and city have developed a strategy for getting the work done. The strategy includes convening the Atlantic City Executive Council, which brings together key stakeholders to share information and collaborate to achieve the Transition Report’s recommendations. The Executive Council meets monthly on Stockton University’s Atlantic City campus and is comprised of representatives from commercial enterprises, public and private institutions, government agencies, city schools, civic associations, labor groups, community organizations and city youth. 

The Executive Council is developing a new Atlantic City Implementation Plan, which is nearly complete and will break down each strategic objective into actionable items. The Implementation Plan will outline the lead stakeholders doing the work, the strategy to get the work done, actions needed to accomplish the work, the impact of the work on the community and the end goal. Once finished, the Implementation Plan will serve as a baseline for monitoring performance and progress of the Executive Council’s projects.

Meet some members of the Atlantic City Executive Council and read their vision for the future of Atlantic City:

DCA leadership

Lt. Gov. Sheila Y. Oliver
Commissioner
Department of Community Affairs

“The Atlantic City Executive Council has been instrumental in moving progress in Atlantic City forward — one step at a time. We understand this transformation isn’t going to happen overnight, but we know that we are on the right path with an outstanding collaboration of minds sitting at the same table every month working on positive solutions for the city.”

Jim Johnson
Special counsel
Governor’s Counsel’s Office

“Too often, when people come together to solve big challenges, they start with what’s wrong in the situation, instead of what is strong. Atlantic City has many strengths. With unified effort and a clear vision of where we want to go, Atlantic City can continue its rise together.”

Atlantic City government

Frank F. Gilliam
Mayor
Atlantic City

“Atlantic City is surely on the rise. I want to thank the office of DCA and the lieutenant governor for their unwavering support and the continuous dedication of the Atlantic City Executive Council.”

Marty Small
Council president
Atlantic City

“The Atlantic City Executive Council has been essential in bringing stakeholders to the table in an effort to form a community partnership using combined resources to make Atlantic City all that we want it to be. I look forward to being a part of the short- and long-term solution, with this diverse group of individuals that make an extremely strong team.

“To take our city to the next level fiscally, we need to grow the middle class and attract professionals from various careers and offer them incentives to buy homes in our city, which adds to our ratable base, which has a positive effect on our taxpayers.”

General Executive Council members

Joyce Hagan
Executive director
Atlantic City Arts Foundation

“The Atlantic City Arts Foundation envisions Atlantic City as a community in which residents, businesses, government, employees and visitors value arts and culture as a means to stimulate economic development, encourage civic engagement and promote community well-being.”

Amber Hamlett
Youth representative
Hamlett Consulting

“I believe the successful future of Atlantic City is centered in the youth. As a 26-year-old entrepreneur, I have experienced many closed opportunities due to lack of access because of my age. If we create spaces for youth involvement and development in politics, business and community development, I believe our city can grow exponentially.

“Progress to me is centered around action. It is my experience and my family’s experience that many great ideas and even solutions are discussed around building Atlantic City, but implementation seems slow or not at all. I believe that the Executive Council has done something extremely unique by getting all stakeholders together at the table to task and execute initiatives.”

Lori Herndon
CEO and president
AtlantiCare

“There should be a coordinated effort to engage residents at an organic level, neighborhood by neighborhood. A greater bond with residents will help instill more community pride, spirit and trust. This, in turn, will lead to true grass roots support for larger, citywide initiatives.”

Joe Jingoli Jr.
Partner
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City

“What’s currently happening in Atlantic City is the coming together of many bright, talented, motivated people whose goals are common — advancing the cause of the city, opening businesses in the city, working in the city, relocating businesses to the city and helping to guide the city in the upward trajectory track it is on.”

Harvey Kesselman; Michelle McDonald
President; vice president of academic affairs
Stockton University

“The Atlantic City Executive Council has been essential in bringing stakeholders to the table in an effort to form a community partnership using combined resources to make Atlantic City all that we want it to be. I look forward to being a part of the short- and long-term solution, with this diverse group of individuals that make an extremely strong team.

“To take our city to the next level fiscally, we need to grow the middle class and attract professionals from various careers and offer them incentives to buy homes in our city, which adds to our ratable base, which has a positive effect on our taxpayers.”

Howard Kyle
Chief of staff
Office of the Atlantic County Executive

“We see Atlantic City as a vital part of the Atlantic County economy and as an important component of a diverse, sustainable regional economy. We look forward to helping to integrate Atlantic City into a regional economy and breaking down the barriers between Atlantic City and the suburban communities and creating greater levels of cooperation and new synergies.”

Libbie Wills
President
1st Ward Civic Association

“As a resident, I see my key role on the council as a voice for the residents who, in the past, have not had a voice at the table. Our visions for Atlantic City are the creation of an economic development plan that includes our neighborhoods, the aging, the youth and the disabled. We also envision the development of the South Inlet with mixed income housing, improved waterfront and Atlantic Avenue with stores that meet the needs of the residents.”

ROI-NJ Staff | editorial@roi-nj.com | @ROINJNews