As reported by nj.com, thirty-one (31)Irvington Township police officers, nearly twenty (20) percent of the force, are scheduled to be laid off on March 11, 2011 in the township’s latest cost cutting move. The cuts would leave the department with 132 officers, a level of uniformed police last seen in 1965, according to Detective Jerry Ramos, president of the Irvington Policemen’s Benevolent Association.
Mayor Wayne Smith said the officers would likely be rehired within a few weeks if state officials allow Irvington to make installment payments on a $6 million budget obligation rather than demand a lump sum.
Union rank-and-file declined this week to vote on giveback proposals, calling them draconian. Ramos said the proposals included an across-the-board 10 percent pay cut through June 30, additional health benefit contributions, and writing off back pay owed to dozens of officers. Irvington police pay ranked 245th out of 466 towns, according to 2009 state data. “However, we’re one of the most densely populated municipalities in the entire state and we have the second-highest violent crime rate” after Camden, Ramos said.
The move comes 10 months after a 17 percent municipal tax increase and the layoffs of 20 officers and 10 firefighters. Five firefighters and 19 officers were rehired in July.