DCA Conducts Good Governance Training Seminar for All Atlantic City Elected Officials and City Department Directors

  • Posted on: 05/19/2022

Training Is Part of DCA’s Ongoing Commitment to Strengthen City’s Municipal Government

TRENTON, NJ – The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) recently held a comprehensive training seminar in Atlantic City as part of the State and City’s ongoing partnership and commitment to good government. A team of municipal experts from DCA’s Division of Local Government Services (DLGS) presented a three-hour training to the Mayor, members of City Council and all City Department Directors at the Carnegie Center in Atlantic City.    

The DLGS team was comprised of technical experts who are retired or former municipal officials representing the following disciplines: City Manager, Business Administrator, Chief Financial Officer, Qualified Purchasing Agent, Registered Municipal Clerk, and Police Chief. 

A number of topics were covered in the seminar, including the Faulkner Act; Atlantic City’s mayor-council form of government; the role of the mayor, City Council, and business administrator; decorum, civility, and communication; budget and finance; purchasing; and local government ethics law.  

“Atlantic City has rebounded from near bankruptcy in 2016 to improved fiscal stability and a healthy budget surplus, which has led to recent credit upgrades by the nation’s top credit rating agencies,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as DCA Commissioner. “The good governance training seminar reinforces for elected leaders and department directors how critically important it is to maintain diligence and best practices to continue the city’s resurgence and avoid sliding back to 2016-like conditions.”  

“The professionals who led the training seminar have spent decades working in their respective areas of expertise. They imparted their knowledge to help Atlantic City productively operate with principle and efficiency,” said DLGS Director Jacquelyn Suárez. “The City is moving in the right direction financially with budget stability, vital municipal services returning, and economic development coming back. Good governance is critical to keeping this momentum going.” 

“DCA’s comprehensive training seminar gave us an insightful look into how our government operates. It was great to see how engaged our staff was,” said City of Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small Sr. “The biggest takeaway from the training is that each elected official and department director must not only respect each other’s roles, but also work together to achieve victory. We have already come so far from where we were, but we are not finished yet. We want to say thank you to the DCA for providing us with this seminar.” 

The first part of the seminar examined how the city electorate voted by referendum to change the City of Atlantic City’s form of government in 1982 from a Commission form to the current Mayor-Council form under the Faulkner Act. The discussion reminded and reinforced how the executive, legislative, and administrative functions are performed in the Mayor-Council form of government, specifically the roles of the Mayor, City Council and Business Administrator. 

The second part of the training dealt with the importance of civility and decorum in municipal government. The technical experts explored how to deal with opposing ideas and interact with the public. Discussion centered on how it is healthy to have political debate and policy disagreements as long as one does it respectfully and professionally without personal attacks or insults. 

A substantial amount of time was spent on the municipal budget process, general financial responsibilities, and public purchasing rules. The DLGS team reviewed how the budget process should work and highlighted areas to strengthen the City’s existing budget processes. Because of the requirement that municipalities annually produce balanced budgets, discussion focused on how “there are often more good ideas than there are tax dollars to fund them,” which requires Mayor and Council to set priorities and decide how to allocate finite resources when they approve a budget. DLGS’s experts also reviewed New Jersey Local Public Contracts Law, clarifying how goods and services must be procured once the City’s budget is approved. 

The seminar concluded with a review of the New Jersey Local Government Ethics Law, which governs the conduct of all elected and appointed officials in municipal government. Technical experts reinforced the concept that City officials are the guardians of the public trust and their conduct should avoid even the perception of impropriety. 

The good governance training seminar is part of DCA’s continuing commitment to strengthen the skills and expand the knowledge of City public servants. Building municipal capacity was addressed in detail in the Atlantic City Transition Report, which was issued in fall 2018 as a guide for returning Atlantic City to local control. In line with this commitment, DCA, in partnership with the City, has previously conducted local government ethics training for all City employees and enrolled City managers and supervisors in the nationally accredited State of New Jersey Certified Public Manager (CPM) Program, which is a training program specifically designed for municipal managers. Additionally, a DCA team of in-house skilled municipal government advisors is available to the City of Atlantic City whenever necessary. 

The DCA offers a wide range of programs and services, including local government management and finance, affordable housing production, fire safety, building safety, community planning and development, and disaster recovery and mitigation. 

For more information on DCA’s Atlantic City projects, visit https://www.nj.gov/dca/home/ac/index.html

For more information about DCA, visit https://nj.gov/dca/ or follow the Department on social media: 




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