Aug 29, 2017 Source: Firehouse.com News
New Jersey’s plan to scale back the number of Atlantic City firefighters has hit a roadblock.
NJ.com reports that a judge’s ruling released Friday effectively blocked the state’s attempt to reduce the number of firefighters from 198 to 148 in the struggling resort town.
“The court holds that the (fire department’s union) have established by clear and convincing evidence that Defendants’ proposal to reduce the size of the Atlantic City Fire Department to 148 firefighters will cause irreparable harm in that it compromises the public safety of Atlantic City’s residents and visitors,” Judge Julio Mendez wrote in his opinion.
The state has been looking for ways to cut costs since taking over control of the city last November, and it proposed in February that the department move to a less expensive health plan and reduce its numbers to 125.
Mendez had previously granted the firefighter union’s request to block those actions, and the latest ruling was a denial of the state’s request to overturn it. Mendez wrote in a March 17 opinion that any reduction below 180 firefighters “compromises public safety” and that any reduction should happen “through attrition and retirements.”
Mayor Don Guardian said in a statement that the cuts would have “left Atlantic City residents and businesses woefully unprotected.”