HomeHome InsuranceNo quorum to renew Atlantic City property insurance by Fri.

No quorum to renew Atlantic City property insurance by Fri.

ATLANTIC CITY — Five City Council members who are critics of Mayor Marty Small Sr.’s administration did not show up for a special meeting Wednesday night to renew the city’s property insurance before the deadline of Dec. 15.

The administration is now awaiting word from the state Department of Community Affairs about whether it will pass the coverage renewals and protect taxpayers for 2024.

“It will be up to the state now,” city spokesperson Andrew Kramer said in response to texted questions after council attorney Robert Tarver told everyone they could go home.

The state has ultimate authority under its 2016 takeover of the city.

Kramer said the decision could come Wednesday night or Thursday.

The five council members who did not attend were at-large members George Tibbitt and Bruce Weekes, 2nd Ward Councilwoman La’Toya Dunston, 4th Ward Councilman MD Hossain Morshed and 6th Ward Councilman Jesse Kurtz.

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“I’m a taxpayer myself. I informed them in advance that I was unable to attend the last-minute meeting,” Weekes said in response to a texted question.

Weekes said he had a family matter to attend to, and when asked if the non-attendance was coordinated, he said it has happened before that there is no quorum for special meetings.

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None of the other four responded immediately to requests for comment.

City Clerk Paula Geletei sent a notice to council members Dec. 7 about the special meeting.

The agenda had two resolutions on it. The first was to renew various property insurance coverages for 2024 with different companies at an annual cost of $1 million.

The second was to approve the minutes of the meeting so they could be sent to the state for approval. 

Council meetings are held in hybrid formats, so members could have attended in person or remotely.

The meeting was supposed to start at 5 p.m., but only Council President Aaron “Sporty” Randolph, Vice President Kaleem Shabazz, and council members Stephanie Marshall and Muhammad “Anjum” Zia were in attendance.

“The Open Public Meetings Act requires a quorum. For this body that would be five members,” said Tarver at 5:11 p.m. “We do not have a quorum.”

Tarver said the five members who did not show up had advised the city they would not attend after getting notice of the special meeting by email.

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Business Administrator Anthony Swan said earlier in the day that the meeting was needed because the city’s insurance had to be approved by Friday, so council could not wait until its next scheduled meeting Dec. 20 to vote on renewals.

“There is nothing to even adjourn,” Tarver said.

“This is a significant event,” Swan said as the council prepared to leave. “This is to secure our property insurance for next year, which we all know is important. If it is not secured, and something happens, it will be a burden placed squarely on taxpayers.”

“I’ve heard council members (who didn’t show up) say they want to be treated with respect and be part of the budget process … yet something so important as protecting the city and taxpayers we don’t have a quorum,” Swan said. “Next time they say we want to be treated the same (as other members) I’ll remember this moment in time.”

Randolph said the four members who showed up know what their duties are to the taxpayers and to constitutents.

“We know what we are supposed to do,” Randolph said. “I have a lot of things I could say, but I’m not (going to say them).”

REPORTER: Michelle Brunetti Post



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