A New Jersey judge temporarily blocked the state Friday from laying off firefighters in Atlantic City, but ruled that their work schedules, salaries, and overtime can be changed by former U.S. Sen. Jeffrey S. Chiesa (R., N.J.), who is directing the state takeover of Atlantic City.
The firefighters union had sued to stop layoffs and changes to its contract.
In his ruling, Superior Court Judge Julio Mendez said the state’s proposal to cut 100 firefighters — reducing the total to 125 — would compromise public safety. But Mendez concluded a smaller number of layoffs would be justified, given the city’s “serious economic distress.”
“A reduction to 180 would be more than reasonable,” he wrote.
The state takeover law, the Municipal Stabilization and Recovery Act, gives Trenton broad powers in Atlantic City — including amending contracts with public employees — to try to stabilize the city’s finances.