ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (WPVI) -- Atlantic City Council President Marty Small was sworn as acting mayor Friday afternoon, one day after former mayor Frank Gilliam entered a guilty plea in federal court and then resigned.
"My heart is for this city. My heart is for the people," said Small, addressing a packed council chambers with his family at his side.
The first thing acting Mayor Marty Small did as he addressed the crowd was a request to pray for Frank Gilliam and his family.
"Today is a day about moving forward. I'm humbled by this opportunity," Small said.
He also said his first priority is to come up with a new tax structure to make the city a more attractive place to live.
"In sports they say when you lack in attendance - what do we need to do to get fannies in seats? I'm interested in getting bodies in homes. That's how we're going to turn Atlantic City around," said Small.
He takes office one day after former Atlantic City mayor Frank Gilliam entered a guilty plea in federal court, admitting to taking money meant for a non-profit youth basketball club he co-founded. Gilliam resigned Thursday afternoon.
One city council member at the swearing in ceremony has been through this before.
William Marsh took over as mayor in 2007 after former mayor Bob Levy resigned and pleaded guilty to lying to the government about his military service. Marsh served for 40 days during a tumultuous time.
"Just make sure you don't deviate from who you are and what your goals are," said Marsh, offering words of wisdom to Small.
Small will serve as both mayor and council president for now. It's up to the Atlantic City Democratic Committee and city council to decide who will finish out the term.
"There's some serious people on that committee that are charged with putting good Democrats in office and I think that I'm one of the eligible Democrats they should consider. And that process has already begun," said Small.
The Atlantic City Democratic Committee will now choose three names to submit to city council. Council members will then choose who will finish out the term as mayor. That is expected to happen in the coming weeks.
City Council President Marty Small sworn in as acting Atlantic City Mayor