As reported by nj.com, unions representing Jersey City municipal employees have filed an appeal with the state Civil Service Commission, challenging some 100 layoffs the administration has carried out so far this year.
The city changed titles of politically-connected employees to avoid laying them off, kept temporary employees on staff for longer than it is supposed to, and generally made it impossible for state officials to determine whether the city’s layoff plan was the result of good-faith efforts, the appeal alleges. The city has laid off nearly 100 workers this year and is scheduled to lay off an additional 16 workers in the next few weeks.
City officials have “been doing so many egregious things for years,” according to Chuck Carroll, president of the Jersey City Public Employee Inc. Local 246, one of three unions that filed the appeal. “They are like the gang that couldn’t shoot straight,” Carroll said of city officials.
The appeal doesn’t seem likely to save the jobs of any recently laid-off employees, according to a source that did not want to be identified. The city defended the layoffs. “While difficult, the layoffs were necessary due to loss of revenue and were properly implemented for reasons of economy and efficiency and approved by the Civil Service Commission, pursuant to state statute,” said city spokeswoman Jennifer Morrill.
Morrill said she couldn’t comment further since the matter is now in litigation. But a city official who asked not to be named made it clear what the city thinks of Carroll’s allegations. “They’re false,” the official said. “They’re (unions members) upset, they’re angry, but they’re not pointing to any specific examples because there are none.” Carroll said he has plenty of examples he has submitted with the appeal.
According to Civil Service Commission spokesman Peter Lyden, the appeal will be sent to the Office of Administrative Law, where it will go before an OAL judge. After a hearing, the judge will forward a recommendation to the CSC, which will then make a final decision on the appeal. Since July 2010, 748 appeals similar to Jersey City’s have been filed with the CSC, Lyden said.