OCEAN CITY – As mayor of Ocean City, Jay Gillian comes from a tradition of Gillian men who settled in the area and aimed high when it came to a day’s work.
Beginning in 1914, when Gillian’s grandfather moved to Ocean City and began working in a local orchestra, their family has been almost a consistent presence in Ocean City, as evidenced by Gillian’s Wonderland Pier and the history of amusements which came before it bearing the family name.
In July of this year, Jay Gillian was sworn in as mayor of Ocean City, following in the footsteps of his father, Roy Gillian, who served as mayor in the late 1980s.
In an article for New Jersey Monthly published in June, he described his family’s long relationship with Ocean City.
“Our philosophy is, take care of Ocean City and it’ll take care of you,” Gillian said. “It might sound a little corny, but it works. The more I do for the city, it seems the better we end up here.”
Since taking office, Gillian’s has addressed areas of concerns for local citizens, in particular, the frequent flooding of streets in Ocean City, difficulty faced by individuals working with the local zoning ordinances, and the lack of transparency in government that was characteristic of the previous administrations.
Gillian has been fairly open in both his politics and in his personal life, which was chronicled in a piece for Shore News Today following his first 100 days in office. The article outlined those issues which were forefront in his plan for the city.
Although the mayor could not be reached for comment, Mike Dattilo, business administrator for the city, described the first few months for Gillian by phone on Monday.
“In general, he has taken his time to get to know the staff and the city operations, but at the same time he has put out a clear message about the things that are important to him, what his priorities are,” said Dattilo. “Most clearly, that has been the infrastructure of the city, roads, drainage, and the condition of our boardwalk.
He has spent the most time dealing with those and working towards a good, solid capital plan for the next several years.”
That plan will be detailed more specifically in a public presentation to be held at the beginning of next year.
“In the meantime,” says Dattilo, “we’ve got some small-scale projects for this offseason to have us in shape for the 2011 summer season.”