By David Madden

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ (CBS) — Amidst all of the celebration over this week’s announced plans for Atlantic City’s newest casino hotel, the Hard Rock, loomed continuing concerns that the state of New Jersey still has legal control over the town’s government.

Mayor Don Guardian’s running for re-election this year, and before you suggest he’s just a figurehead five months into the state takeover, Guardian insists he still has a lot to do.

“The state isn’t interested in dealing with mayoral issues,” Guardian told KYW Newsradio. “The mayoral issues is day-to-day. Fixing the potholes. Replacing the lights. Making sure the recreation is open. That’s what I do from a day-to-day operation. They’re looking at the bigger picture.”

Like trimming budgets and imposing new contracts on city employees, including police and fire staffers. Guardian must work with attorneys hired by, and paid for, by the state.

“I really see them almost like City Council,” Guardian continued. “So, before, I’d have to go to City Council to get any financing approved. Now it’s the state that you have to go through. It’s a level of bureaucracy. It’s a little bit more delaying in helping us move forward but it is what it is.”

For his part, Guardian can’t wait for next January, when a new Governor comes in. He says all the major candidates to replace Chris Christie have pledged to end the state control.

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