Layoffs Threaten 51 Atlantic City Firefighters
Layoff notices went out to Atlantic City Firefighters yesterday in anticipation of the end of a federal grant that funds 51 of their salaries.
The Federal government's shutdown makes it unclear whether the city's application for an extension of the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grant, which has been paying the salaries for 20% of the city's firefighters for the last two years, will be accepted.
The notices sent out Monday to all Atlantic City Fire Department personnel were required to meet the 45-day union notification mandate.
The SAFER Grant was originally awarded in 2011 after the city laid off 30 firefighters in 2010. The grant provides funding for personnel who respond to fires and is an acknowledgement that otherwise the city would be understaffed to maintain proper response times.
Atlantic City Fire Union President Chris Emmell told the Press of Atlantic City the cuts to the 256-member fire department would be extreme," You lose 51 guys, that's going to be quite devastating to the city. Especially with the shutdown. It's just scary."
The Press is reporting that the job cuts would mean closing two or three of the city's 11 fire companies per shift.
These cuts seem completely unacceptable to me. How can you leave the safety of Atlantic City's residents, workforce, and guests at risk by cutting 20% of the fire department? Leave me your thoughts in the comments section below.