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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Mayor Zimmer Press Conference on Layoffs

A subdued Mayor Zimmer officially announced 36 layoffs at City Hall earlier this afternoon.  Speaking in a soft spoken voice, she described the decision as the toughest of her public career.  Emphasizing the reductions as needed for Hoboken's fiscal health, the mayor added the city employees were not to blame for the losses describing them as hard working.

Half the reductions proposed, pending the State Civil Service Commission review will come from the Hoboken Police Department.  Mayor Zimmer asked members of the media to state the reductions will not lead to any lessening of patrolman on the streets of Hoboken.  In the questions and answers, she added there had been a meeting earlier this morning with Police Chief Falco.  

In a discussion on background with an administration official, the process for reducing staff in the police clearly meant that union "bumping" rules would impact younger officers on the force.  It's hoped however that some senior members may elect to submit retirement papers before the State of New Jersey's pension rules change reducing the impact to the department.

The savings to Hoboken is estimated at $2.5 million annually.




Related: Hoboken Patch posted a story where police union head, Vince Lombardi complained about not being told this morning about the impending layoffs.

Timothy J. Carroll, a veteran reporter of Hoboken union negotiations over recent years posted his story on today's news conference.

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Mayor Zimmer proposes 36 layoffs, half on police force

City of Hoboken announces:

CITY OF HOBOKEN ANNOUNCES DEMOTIONS AND LAYOFFS; ESTIMATES $2.5 MILLION IN YEARLY SAVINGS

As the City of Hoboken moves forward to address its financial challenges while ensuring that the City's public safety and quality of life are protected, the Zimmer Administration today announced the proposed layoffs of 36 employees. If approved by the State of New Jersey Civil Service Commission, the personnel changes are projected to save taxpayers a net $2.5 million per year.

Recommendations for 36 layoffs of employees will be submitted for approval to the Civil Service Commission. This includes 18 layoffs from the Police Department that will occur after 19 senior officers are demoted. An additional 18 layoffs are planned in other departments within the Administration.

"As we make this difficult decision, my Administration is committed to protecting the public safety of our community," said Mayor Dawn Zimmer, who is working closely with Police Chief Falco. "Through redeployment and civilianization, there will be no reduction in the number of patrol officers policing Hoboken's streets."

The police reductions are informed by the findings of the Police Department audit prepared by the State of New Jersey, Division of Local Government Services (“DLGS”) as well as recommendations by Arch Liston, the City's Business Administrator, who has 25 years of experience in public safety. The DLGS audit found that the Police Department "contained more superior officers than was necessary to maintain essential police services" and that "more patrol officers can be placed on the street" by civilianizing several positions.

The City’s proposed demotions reflect the DLGS audit which recommended that the superior officer structure be modified from 1 Chief, 4 Captains, 18 Lieutenants and 30 Sergeants to 1 Chief, 3 Captains, 12 Lieutenants and 26 Sergeants.

"Layoffs create real hardship for employees and their families, and I recognize that this decision has serious consequences for them," said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. "The individuals affected are hardworking public servants who are victims of a fiscal climate not of their own making. This has been an extraordinarily difficult decision that had to be made, and my Administration proceeded with extreme care to ensure that we have a responsible plan." 

"We have a responsibility to use our resources more efficiently," added Mayor Zimmer. "By civilianizing non-police functions and moving Police from behind desks and out on our streets, we can improve efficiency and maintain the exceptional level of public safety our Police Department has always provided our community."

Mayor Zimmer will brief the press at 2:00pm today in her office at City Hall.


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Mayor Zimmer - in a full range interview

The Hoboken Journal posted its story having interviewed the Mayor and its timely and thorough covering a broad spectrum of current issues.

The discussion details the highlights of where the Zimmer Administration has acted and a roadmap in a number of important areas: from PILOTS, the hospital, to the Municipal Garage, the recent Pier C delay and also layoffs in the police department.

It's an important read: http://thehobokenjournal.blogspot.com/

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