State Sen. Ronald Rice called a petition effort to change Atlantic City to a council-manager form of government a power grab Thursday.
“As we saw with Paterson and Newark’s Board of Education takeovers, outside intervention does not prevent mismanagement,” Rice said. “If the people of Atlantic City and their mayor and councilmembers need extra support to resolve issues, they deserve the expertise of professionals who will work shoulder-to-shoulder in a cooperative, collaborative spirit. The situation does not justify a power grab.”
The petition is being circulated by Atlantic City Residents for Good Government, a political action committee.
Without citing specifics, Rice implied the petition was the result of “backroom deals, covert emails and promises to cronies poised to profit from Atlantic City’s many valuable assets.”
Rice, who is chair of the Legislative Black Caucus, senator said the petition should also be looked at through the lens of race.
“Above all, the motivation and driving force behind any petition for government change in a historically African-American community should be examined in light of racial undertones,” Rice said. “Atlantic City has a vibrant community of color, a growing immigrant population and an energetic workforce and talent pool that needs to be represented by leaders who will help it flourish and thrive from the inside out, and not by those injected to exploit it and let its vitality languish and wither.”