• Lynda Cohen

Marty Small officially becomes Atlantic City mayor

Updated: Feb 9

“This is my opportunity. This is our opportunity.” In what he called a bittersweet celebration, Marty Small became the official mayor of Atlantic City in a special City Council meeting Tuesday night.


“This is something I sought for a while,” he said of his longtime dream to lead his city. But he said the milestone caused him to reflect and think of those who didn’t make it to see his dream come true. “There’s a lot of people who wanted to see this moment who’s no longer with us,” he said. He then broke down as he mentioned his “ace in the hole,” Demond Tally. Tally was fatally gunned down just moments after leaving Small’s home Feb. 10. Tally was fatally shot Feb. 10, right after leaving Small’s home. No one has been arrested in his killing, nor in the Nov. 25, 2016, killing of Tally’s son, Demond Cottman, outside the Hamilton Mall. “He definitely wanted to be here with me today,” Small said. “So the best thing that I could do was have his family at my side.”

The new mayor honored his friend, Demond Tally, who was killed Feb. 10, moments after leaving Small’s home.

Tally’s mother and sister held the Bible as he was sworn in. “I just say, ‘Congrats, Biggie,’ because that’s what my dad would have said,” said Yanique Garcia, Tally’s daughter. “It means a lot to my parents that Marty invited us all,” said Tally’s sister, Mona Tally. Small was one of three candidates nominated by the city’s Democratic Committee to fill the term of Frank Gilliam, who resigned Oct. 2, hours after pleading guilty to wire fraud in federal court. The two other candidates, Pamela Thomas and Gwen Callaway Louis, both threw their support behind Small, who was voted in unanimously by the eight other councilmen. As council president, Small took over as acting mayor the next day. But now, the acting drops from his title, and he will remain in the position until the results of the November 2020 election are confirmed. Aaron “Sporty” Randoph takes over Small’s position as council president. “My commitment isn’t going to change,” the new mayor told those packed in City Council chambers. “I’m a fighter. I care about this city. I tell people, ‘I’m Atlantic City born. I’m Atlantic City bred. And when I die, I’ll be Atlantic City dead.'” Small served on council for 16 years. His former fellow councilman all gave words of support after he was sworn in. Councilman Kaleem Shabazz said the city needs stability now, and that Small is that stability. “I know that we are all in support of you to move the city forward,” he said. People will be looking for him to fail, Councilman Mo Delgado warned him. “Stay focused because Atlantic City deserves better,” he said. “Show them what you’ve got.” “Understand this, there’s gonna be some trips and falls along the way, that’s life,” Small said. “Just know that every decision I make, even if you don’t agree with it, I believe its the best for the city of Atlantic City.” He said people need to be patient with the city: “God is not through with us yet.”

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