Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small today announced the hiring of former Superior Court Judge – and former state Senator and architect of the law that allowed casinos in Atlantic City – Steven P. Perskie as adviser to the mayor on policy.
“I am excited about the possibility,” said Small. “This sends a strong message about where I want to take the city. To get someone who has state legislative experience as an assemblyman and senator, executive state-level experience as chief of staff to Governor James Florio, as the casino control board chair and a two time superior court judge, is a tremendous opportunity for Atlantic City.
“I am deeply appreciative of his connections and his wisdom,” the mayor added.
“People have lost confidence, but the good news is that after the state stepped in, the city has been moving in the right direction,” Perskie told InsiderNJ. “There is still a lot of work to be done, and I think Mayor Small is the man to do that. I am very appreciative of the opportunity. This is a long way around to where I started.
“We can recreate confidence,” Perskie added.
Elected to the New Jersey General Assembly in 1971 at age 26, and re-elected in 1973 and 1975, Democrat Perskie was the primary advocate and sponsor for the introduction of casino gaming in Atlantic City and was responsible for drafting what would become the New Jersey Casino Control Act. Perskie beat Republican Frederick Perone in the 1977 state senate race. In 1981, Perskie was again challenged in the general election by former Democratic Senator Joe McGahn, who ran as a Republican. Perskie won reelection with 29,151 votes, defeating McGahn, who received 28,149.
Perskie was appointed an Atlantic County Superior Court Judge in 1982. In 1989, he resigned from the bench to manage James Florio’s successful gubernatorial campaign. He served as Florio’s Chief of Staff from 1989 to 1990. He was appointed Chairman of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission in 1990, where he served until 1994. During his tenure, Perskie oversaw a comprehensive restructuring of the agency.
Having drafted and sponsored the Casino Control Act, which the late Gov. Brendan T. Byrne signed on the Atlantic City Boardwalk on June 2, 1977, Perskie told The Press of Atlantic City in 2018, “I’ve done a lot of things over a lot of time and I’m proud of many of them. This one was the most comprehensive, the most detailed, the most difficult of any effort in which I was ever engaged.”