ATLANTIC CITY — The mayor has tapped one of the region’s most respected and knowledgeable legal minds to join the city administration.
During an impromptu news conference Tuesday at City Hall, Mayor Marty Small Sr. said Steven P. Perskie, a retired Superior Court judge and author of the state legislation that brought casino gaming to Atlantic City, would be a special adviser to the mayor on policy.
Details were still to be worked out, Small said, including how much he will be paid, before the move becomes official, and the hope was to have Perskie on board by the start of the new year.
Small, who was sworn in as the city’s chief executive in October, said the intended hire “spoke volumes about the direction we want to take this administration.”
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“The wealth of knowledge and experience that he brings ... I couldn’t think of a better person to have to assist us,” Small said.
Perskie, 74, of Margate, served as a state assemblyman (1971-77), senator (1977), chief of staff to Gov. Jim Florio (1989-90) and chairman of the Casino Control Commission (1990-94). Perskie twice served as a Superior Court judge in Atlantic County, from 1982-89 and again from 2001-10.
Perskie is most well known as the author and primary sponsor of the Casino Control Act, the state legislation that authorized and regulated casino gaming in New Jersey. In 2018, he was elected into the Gaming Hall of Fame.
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“The interests of the City of Atlantic City, its people, its businesses, have always been, for me, at, or immediately adjacent to, the top of my professional and public agenda,” Perskie said. “I will, hopefully, be able to play a significant and meaningful role in the shaping and execution of the policies that will advance the interests of the city and its people.”
Perskie’s presence in the mayor’s inner circle is noteworthy during a time when Small has been leading a crusade to recoup portions of gaming tax revenue.
While taking issue with all the fees and taxes generated in Atlantic City that go to the state, such as luxury tax, parking and room fees, Small has recently zeroed in on an additional tax on sports wagering revenue enacted in 2018.
The legislation placed an additional 1.25% tax on top of the set rate established for retail and online/mobile gaming, and redirects the funds to the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority. Meanwhile, the host municipalities of the two state racetracks with sports betting facilities receive the full 1.25% tax.
Small said the details of Perskie’s position have not been finalized, but the intent is for the role to be part-time.
The city remains under state control during the five-year term of the Municipal Stabilization and Recovery Act of 2016. Perskie said he has confidence that Small will be critical in the city’s return to sovereignty.
Perskie’s long and distinguished career in public service has one blemish: a 2011 censure from the state Supreme Court for an ethics violation related to his handling of a case in 2005.