As reported by nj.com, a plan to layoff more than 100 uniformed City of Trenton police officers is back on the table, Mayor Tony Mack said. Mack confirmed the layoff plan at the end of a town hall meeting with the Chambersburg Civic Association.
“Unfortunately, for us, we will have to layoff 111 police officers,” Mack said, responding to a question from a resident about the possibility of terminations. “We’re in a very, very difficult situation.” Last year, Mack shelved a similar plan to axe 111 officers, but officials said this layoff plan is separate from last year’s plan.
Layoff plans have to be certified by the state’s Civil Service Commission and submitted to the state’s Department of Community Affairs. According to Eric Berry, the city’s business administrator, the new layoff plan will also include personnel cuts in other city departments. However, he said that, until the new plan is approved by the state, he could not disclose how many people might be affected.
As he said when police layoffs were considered last year, Mack told the crowd the cuts would not affect patrol levels. “We have some of our police officers who are in offices. They physically work in an office,” he said. ‘Those police officers will no longer work in offices, they’ll be on the street patrolling. So the plan that we have in place…will not reduce police presence on the street.”
Mack also added that the city was looking into applying for a grant that could save some police jobs. “Camden got a grant to bring some of their police officers back, so we will apply for that same grant,” he said.
Camden was able to hire back 19 officers after receiving a $4.3 million federal Community Oriented Policing Services grant. The city laid off 163 officers last year. Other officers were able to come back to the department after the city found other sources of revenue.
Trenton is still ironing out problems from layoffs in 2010. The state Civil Service agency issued a corrective action plan to the city earlier this year to address irregularities in how those terminations were carried out. Under Civil Service rules, some workers have “bumping rights” based on such factors as licensing and seniority, and certain employees must be laid off before others. Berry said those problems should be fixed by May 24, at which point the new layoff plan can be certified.