Senator Sam Thompson, R-12, responded to disconcerting comments by an Atlantic City councilman attempting to deflect from the city’s brazen vehicle purchases for part-time elected officials.
In a Saturday article by The Press of Atlantic City, Councilman Marty Small had the following to say about Senator Thompson and the Senator’s stance against those car buys:
“That senator should keep Atlantic City out of his mouth,” said 2nd Ward Councilman Marty Small. “The only thing he’s trying to do is grab headlines. He probably doesn’t know how to get (here) without a GPS. He needs to worry about his constituency up there.”
Small, who is currently serving his third term, said Thursday that he would get rid of the cars if the state demands it.
“It’s a high-profile city, and everyone is going to pile on us. How about having the state fund a citywide (security) camera program?” Small said. “That’s my main concern about the Tourism District. We can’t forget about the neighborhoods.”
Senator Thompson replied:
“As this issue develops, it becomes clearer that Atlantic City’s brazen abuse of tax dollars to buy vehicles for part-time elected officials serving 10 square miles is a prime example of why that resort town unfortunately needs state budget baby sitters.
“Councilman Small can rest assured that my bill to ban part-time elected officials from being issued city vehicles is common-sense public policy that serves my constituents and protects their state tax dollars from being abused in municipalities such as Atlantic City.
“I certainly question Mr. Small’s judgment in taking a taxpayer-funded SUV in these economic times and as his city faces rising obligatory expenses. I am confused as to why he would tell a state Senator to shut up about Atlantic City but in the same breath ask for a new line of state funding. It seems Councilman Small must also be reminded that taxpayers around the Garden State annually infuse approximately $9 million in Atlantic City’s budget for municipal services, such as security.
“If a ‘main concern’ of Councilman Small is to establish a citywide security camera program, he can help the city budget for that cause by being the first part-time board member to do the right thing and give up his taxpayer-funded vehicle.
“It shouldn’t take a state law for an elected official to serve the public’s interest. Until city council gets its act together, it bears repeating: Atlantic City residents and taxpayers around the state who help pay for city expenses deserve much, much better.”
Senator Thompson will introduce legislation to ban localities from issuing public vehicles to part-time elected officials. He intends to do so at the Senate’s next quorum.