Is Change Coming to Atlantic City? Casino CEOs Complain While Government Officials May Soon Be Out
While Atlantic City is doing well by way of visitor traffic and revenue earnings at casinos, CEOs of gaming venues are not happy with the conditions of the city. during a recent event hosted by the Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce, several CEOs spoke out regarding the certain issues such as streetlights and potholes. The CEOs want to see the government do a better job and potentially this could be new individuals as a vote will take place in March to see if those in power need to be replaced.
Each of the nine casinos in Atlantic City was represented during the panel except for the Ocean Casino Resort. The CEOs decided to voice their opinions on what needs to take place regarding problems in the city.
Hard Rock President Joe Lupo got straight to the point, stating that the buildings in the region are surrounded by prostitutes and drug addicts. The street lights need to be worked on and the city needs to essentially be in better shape.
The Tropicana representative Steve Callender stated that there are three-foot potholes near his casino’s entrance and other CEOs pointed out similar issues. The city is currently being run by Marty Small, a councilman promoted to the mayor position after former mayor Frank Gilliam was found guilty of stealing $87,000 from a youth basketball program.
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City Government Changes
The CEOs may feel that their complaints are falling on deaf ears, but changes to the government structure of Atlantic City may be afoot. On March 31st, a citywide referendum will take place to decide if the mayor and city council members should continue to make decisions for the city. The alternative would be for the city to have a manager and the city council would only consist of five members instead of nine.
Residents as well as casino operators want to see Atlantic City succeed but many are wondering if the change to a manager and smaller city council is the answer. There have been years of convictions and indictments of city officials as well as removal of individuals that have led many residents to feel that any change is good while others are worried about what might happen.
If the manager plan moves forward, the individual would act like a CEO, running the operations of the city as well as the finances. The meetings would be overseen by a mayor, a person that would be chosen from the five council seats.
Elected officials as well as NAACP leaders are not in favor of the change. They feel it is a power grab and would further hurt the African American community of the city. Former Senator Ray Lesniak wants to see the new approach take place along with casino union leader Bob McDevitt.
What will happen is anyone’s guess. It really depends on the state of the people and what they feel will be best for Atlantic City. Those who are tired of the officials making seemingly poor decisions are sure to vote in favor of the change. It will essentially come down to how many people choose to vote in favor of the change.
We shall see by March if the change takes place. For now, we will wait and see if city council members and the mayor have anything to say about the CEO complaints during the recent panel meeting on Atlantic City.