May 24, 2024


Dear Friends,

I’m happy to announce that Deputy Fire Chief Bernard Walker will become Ocean City’s 11th fire chief when Chief Jim Smith retires on July 1.

First, I want to thank Chief Smith for his 30 years of service to Ocean City and wish him all the best in his retirement and his future endeavors. Jim’s father was a deputy chief with the Philadelphia Fire Department, and firefighting was always in his blood. I’m proud that he helped the Ocean City Fire Department earn the prestigious ISO Class 1 rating. He also helped restructure the department in a way that ensures the best leadership and training for all firefighters and the best protection for all residents.

There were three excellent candidates to succeed Chief Smith, each of them a deputy chief in our department. While not an easy decision, I feel Chief Walker best represents the vision and values to help take the department into the future. Our leadership of the Fire Department is in excellent hands.

Bernie is a 19-year veteran of the OCFD who was named deputy chief in 2020. He has extensive training and multiple professional certifications. A 1995 graduate of Ocean City High School and 1999 graduate of Rutgers University, Bernie is married to Rachel and has two children, Lea and Joseph. I hope you all will join me in congratulating Bernie.

City Council yesterday approved the first reading of a bond ordinance that includes funding for the renovation and expansion of the public safety building across from City Hall. We plan to start construction next year on the main building. Construction of the police substation is scheduled to start after this summer.

Council approved another first reading to lease the parking lot next to the existing parking behind City Hall. This will help us add 20 spots to improve parking for the downtown and reduce the impact of construction when we start the public safety building project.

I’m happy to report that West Avenue is now paved from 9th Street to 16th Street … and from 18th Street to 26th Street. The roadway will be ready for the weekend. That completes the work for the utility companies. Final paving of West Avenue from North Street to 18th Street will be part of a city project in the fall.

The City Hall elevator work will be done by end of month, so we can get back there for our next City Council meeting.

The Merion Park pump station project is going well, and we’re staying in close contact with the neighborhood. At same time, we’re working on designs for future flood mitigation projects in the 18th to 26th Street area, and working with the county on the 34th Street project that will enhance the gateway into the city and provide better flood mitigation.

Our annual Memorial Day Service is Monday at 11 a.m. at Veterans Memorial Park, and I encourage you all to attend. Our guest speaker will be Ralph Galati, who was a POW in Vietnam, and has been a veterans advocate throughout his career. The ceremony will open with a flyover of F-16 jets from 177th Fighter Wing of the New Jersey Air National Guard.

The Memorial Beach Challenge obstacle course race goes off tomorrow morning (May 25) on the beach near the Music Pier. It’s a great event for a great cause, and I hope you get a chance to cheer on the participants and support 31Heroes, an organization that creates support programs for service members, veterans and their families. More information is available at

Finally, I’m happy to report that we successfully “unlocked the ocean” for the season in our annual ceremony on the beach next to the Music Pier. That was followed closely by the Business Persons Plunge. I joined in the event for the first time ever, and I already plan to be back next year. It’s been a cold and rainy spring, and this event is always a fun way to start the long-awaited summer season.

But I want to remind everybody to be serious about safety as the town fills up for the holiday weekend and for the rest of the season. There will be a lot of vehicles, bicycles, e-bikes and pedestrians sharing the roads. Please slow down, use caution and follow all the rules of the road ( 

Jitney service to the Boardwalk will be available 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday through Monday this weekend. Daily service will begin on June 21. More information is available here:

I hope you all have a great holiday weekend with family and friends.


Warm regards,


Jay A. Gillian

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Mayor Jay GillianWelcome to The City of Ocean City, New Jersey!

Ocean City is a town rich in history and a deep sense of community. Families have been vacationing in Ocean City for generations and many have made Ocean City their year-round home.

Our residents enjoy award-winning schools, world-class recreation facilities and outstanding municipal services from all city departments, including Police, Fire and Rescue, and Beach Patrol. Residents participate in activities for every age and interest including the cultural arts, music and theater as well as sports and recreation programs available at our many parks, playgrounds and city facilities. One of our local treasures is the Ocean City Community Center at 1735 Simpson Avenue, where families and individuals can enjoy the Ocean City Free Public Library, Ocean City Arts Center, Ocean City Historical Museum, Ocean City Aquatic and Fitness Center, and the Howard S. Stainton Senior Center under one roof.

The city also maintains and operates a municipal airport, 12-hole golf course, Aquatic and Fitness Center as well as the famed Ocean City Pops Orchestra.

Ocean City is also host to more than 200 family-friendly special events held year-round. Many of our events are popular family traditions, including the Night in Venice Boat Parade in July, the Baby Parade in August, our mile-long block parties in May and October, and our family-friendly First Night New Year’s Eve Celebration.

If you are vacationing in Ocean City, I know you’ll enjoy our seven miles of beautiful beaches and exciting Boardwalk lined with shops, restaurants and amusements. And be sure to visit our unique and charming downtown shops and restaurants located in the heart of town on Asbury Avenue.

I am truly proud to serve as mayor for this great community and hope you and your family enjoy your time in America’s Greatest Family Resort.

Jay Gillian, Mayor

Phone: 609-525-9333

Mayor Jay A. Gillian
Phone Numbers
Emergencies: Dial 911
861 Asbury Avenue
Ocean City,