Atlantic City Executive Council

Jim Johnson, left, special counsel to Gov. Phil Murphy on the Atlantic City transition, sits next to Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, Atlantic City Initiatives Project Office Executive Director Mike Epps and City Council President Marty Small Sr. during a meeting of the Atlantic City Executive Council at Stockton University’s city campus Tuesday.

ATLANTIC CITY — Six months after its formation, the Atlantic City Executive Council is close to finalizing a strategy designed to keep the public informed of progress and hold members accountable.

The Executive Council’s implementation plan needs approval from the Governor’s Office before it can be released to the public. The plan will outline agencies responsible for enacting recommendations contained in the state’s Atlantic City transition report, as well as set deadlines.

Jim Johnson, special counsel to Gov. Phil Murphy and co-author of the transition report, said the implementation plan could be complete as soon as next week.

“The implementation plan contains more specificity around the issues that were identified in the transition report,” he said. “It details precisely what should be done and, also, when it should be done.”

The transition report, released in September, provides a blueprint for the Murphy administration’s vision for how Atlantic City can return to local sovereignty following the 2016 state takeover.

The Executive Council consists of state, county and local officials, and representatives from private companies, nonprofits and community groups.

Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, who leads the Executive Council’s monthly meetings at Stockton University’s city campus, said the implementation plan provides “measurable and quantifiable” goals. The idea, she said, is to put in place a system of accountability for the public and private entities that make up the council.

“It keeps us on a track to fulfill our objectives and goals that we’ve established,” said Oliver.

Johnson said the implementation plan will set quarterly goals for the council and keep the public up to date on the progress of each.

After six months, Oliver said the Executive Council has set an example of how independent agencies can collaborate to improve the quality of life for residents in a city. She suggested the formula being used in Atlantic City may be replicated elsewhere in the state.

The lieutenant governor is also commissioner of the state Department of Community Affairs, which has direct oversight of Atlantic City under the Municipal Recovery and Stabilization Act.

“Because we deal with a lot of communities around the state, I would love to see us to take what has been going on here (in Atlantic City) and replicate this in some of the other cities,” she said, citing Trenton as an example.

The Executive Council also received an update from Uplift Solutions Inc., the consulting company working with the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority to bring a new supermarket to Atlantic City. The CRDA provided Uplift Solutions with land near the Atlantic City Convention Center to build the store, which is scheduled to break ground later this year.

Johnson said Uplift’s recent community meetings yielded significant feedback, particularly about security and safety, two issues that have plagued other grocery stores in Atlantic City.

Contact: 609-272-7222 Twitter @ACPressDanzis

Staff Writer

I cover Atlantic City government and the casino industry since joining The Press in early 2018. I formerly worked as a politics & government reporter for NJ Herald and received the First Amendment: Art Weissman Memorial NJPA Award two years in a row.

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