Ocean City Mayoral Candidate Profile: Jay Gillian

Ocean City Mayoral Candidate Profile: Jay Gillian

Ocean City mayoral candidate Jay Gillian

Two candidates are running for mayor in the May 13 municipal election.

Ed Price (read profile) is challenging incumbent Mayor Jay Gillian, who has served one term after being elected in 2010.

The mayor in Ocean City serves part-time in a four-year term as the head of the city administration but has no vote on City Council.

The following includes biographical and platform information provided by the candidate and a brief profile — along with a favorite Ocean City memory (just for the fun of it).



Age: 49

Education: Ocean City High School, 1983

No. of years lived in Ocean City: Lifelong resident

Family: Wife, Michele; seven children

Occupation: Owner of Gillian’s Wonderland Pier

Public service:

  • Mayor, 2010 – 2014
  • Ocean City Library Board of Trustees, 2010 – 2014
  • Ocean City Board of Education, 2002 – 2010, Served as President
  • Shore Memorial Hospital / Shore Medical Center Board of Directors, Served as Chairman
  • First Night Ocean City Board of Directors
  • Miss New Jersey Pageant Board of Directors
  • First Tee of Greater Atlantic City Board of Directors
  • New Jersey Amusement Association Board of Directors
  • Shore Tomorrow Campaign Co-Chairman
  • Ocean City Historical Museum Board of Directors
  • Ocean City Boardwalk Merchants Association Past President
  • Ocean City Business and Neighborhood Development Inc. Past President



  • Proven, Common Sense Leadership: Gillian will look to build on accomplishments of first term.
  • Leadership: “Jay provided the leadership necessary after the worst storm in the city’s history … He was in front of the BYOB issue.  He respected the right of the petitioners to place the BYOB question on the ballot, but clearly told the community this was the wrong direction for Ocean City.”
  • Teamwork and Cooperation: “Jay and the City Council worked in partnership to restore civility to local government affairs.”

  • Storm Recovery: “Ocean City was cleaned up, fixed up and back in business faster than any nearby community following Hurricane Sandy.”
  • Capital Improvements: “Jay’s administration developed and City Council adopted an aggressive five-year Capital Improvement Plan that included $10 million in much needed investment in the City’s infrastructure.  This is double the amount of improvements in previous years.  Approximately $5 million has been allocated to long awaited road and drainage improvements.”

  • Financial Stability: Jay has controlled spending and held taxes to responsible levels.  The city ended 2013 with a fund balance of  $5.8 million , the largest in history.  City budgets during Jay’s term have been well under the governor’s 2 percent cap.”
  • Efficiency: “The Administration proposed and City Council adopted two significant reorganizations of the city government during Jay’s first term.  Management has been reduced by the reorganizations and attritions resulting in one less department head and four fewer middle managers .”

  • Labor Contracts: Jay’s administration negotiated the most favorable labor contracts for the taxpayers in the city’s history.  The contracts provided fair salary increases of approximately 1.2 percent per year, significantly less than previous contracts.”



Gillian brings a private-sector mentality to public office.

The mayor says he likes to “get  it done,” and he often laments the impediments of bureaucratic red tape.

Gillian has surrounded himself with what he sees as a top-shelf team of senior staff members, and he places faith in his charges to plan and execute the administration’s vision.

The success of the team and its planning was never more evident than in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy in October 2012. Even before a mandatory evacuation was lifted in the days after the storm, an army of heavy equipment was in place clearing roads and securing the island for the return of residents.

The city’s work and a quickly formed volunteer effort to provide relief to displaced residents received universal praise and made Ocean City’s recovery much more quick than that of other towns.

Gillian says he started four years ago by telling City Council “right out of the gate that I’m not playing games.” He says he’s proud of the working relationship that followed.

He says he also started by telling department heads to ask, “What do we need, not what do we want?”

The results, he says, are responsible budgets that do more with less.

Gillian says he’s “not just a hometown boy,” but he sees the fact that he’s a lifelong resident and one Ocean City’s most prominent business owners as “a big strength.”

“Ocean City always comes first,” Gillian says. “And if you have a successful Ocean City, the rest comes with it.”



For Gillian, vivid scenes are of assembling and dismantling the Ferris wheel on the Fun Deck on the Ocean City Boardwalk at Plymouth Place. The memory includes family (brothers, father and uncle), old block-and-tackle equipment, and it marked the coming and going of the season that meant so much to so many people.


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