As reported in NJ.Com, on Tuesday, July 30, 2013, Jersey City Mayor, Steve Fulop, announced today that he was initiating four major consolidation measures "to cut costs and streamline services within municipal government." The leading measure to cut costs is the merger of the Police and Fire Departments.
The ordinance would put the Fire and Police Departments “under one roof” and New York City veteran police officer, James Shea, will lead the new "Department of Public Safety," which would also include the Office of Emergency Management. The Mayor’s Office has issued a statement that the consolidation of the departments will save the City over $350,000.00.
The proposed ordinance has stirred debate amongst City Counsel members as some believe the merger will not save the city money but will instead lead to the inefficient operation of the Departments.
In his statement, Fulop further stated that the consolidation would eliminate the cost of two directors, as well as numerous other administrative costs. It would also facilitate better communication between the Police and Fire divisions, as well as enhance public safety for residents, the mayor said.
Most recently, we have seen the consolidation of Police Departments amongst towns and on a larger scale in Camden County. However this appears to be the first instance where Police and Fire Departments are being consolidated under a “single roof”. At this point in time neither the Police Department, Fire Department, or their respective collective bargaining units have issued statements regarding the proposed merger. We will keep you posted as more information regarding the same becomes available.