Senator Ronald L. Rice (D-28) today released the following statement regarding his stand on the efforts underway in Atlantic City to put a hired manager in control of government:
“I want to express my support for the people of Atlantic City and the Mayor-Council form of government they chose by direct petition in 1982. No organization of people, including local governments, is immune to difficulties and periods of challenge – but bringing outside leadership in to take over does not ensure success. As we saw with Paterson and Newark’s Board of Education takeovers, outside intervention does not prevent mismanagement.
“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. And it certainly should not involve backroom deals, covert emails, and promises to cronies poised to profit from Atlantic City’s many valuable assets. 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. 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.”