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Camden’s massive layoffs cause concern for public safety

police122209_optBY BOB HOLT

Financial troubles in Camden continue. Despite pleas from local residents, one of the most crime-riddled cities in the United States is about to lay off about half of its public safety forces.

Camden City Council approved the layoff proposal unanimously on Thursday in spite of angry arguments from workers and residents to find a way to save the jobs.

Camden has a small tax base and relies on the state for most of its funding. Meanwhile, New Jersey's budget cuts have gone statewide.

An Associated Press report from NBC New York said the layoffs are to be effective Jan. 18. The state Civil Service Commission has already approved them.

Union leaders have met with city officials to iron out possible concessions in an attempt to save as many of the 383 targeted positions as possible.

Fire Officers Union President Al Ashley noted 67 firefighters stand to lose their jobs under the current layoff plan. That translates to a safety issue for his staff and the public.

Some blamed council and Mayor Dana Redd for the situation. Others criticized six bargaining units they believe could make concessions to reduce the 383 layoffs called for to close a $26.5-million budget gap.

And others were pointing to Gov. Chris Christie for not fully funding the troubled town.

Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak mentioned that out of nine New Jersey municipalities granted transitional aid, Camden received the largest portion of $159 million in available funding.

"All governments — municipal, school districts, county and state — are having to make do and do better with what they have."

The union Camden Council 10 President Karl Walko heads represents non-uniformed employees from public works employees to clerks and typists. The mantra of "doing more with less" is something Council 10 employees have been doing already, Walko says.

According to, Walko said 40 percent of the police dispatch unit would be dismissed along with 42 percent of the clerical staff in the courts. He said 25 of the city's 40 laborers would be let go, a loss he said could paralyze the city in a snowstorm.

Despite the state contributing $69 million in aid to Camden — $15 million above what it budgeted — according to the Courier Post, Walko says the layoff plan is "an abandonment of the city and its residents by the state of New Jersey."

Ken Chambers, president of the union that represents Camden's everyday firefighters, said concessions like the ones made already by Council 10 aren't feasible for police and firefighters.

Camden Mayor Dana L. Redd and John Williamson, head of the police officers' union, said in a joint phone call that talks between the city and public safety unions were continuing.

The sides plan to meet over the next several weeks to discuss concessions that would save public-safety jobs in what was recently rated the second-most-dangerous city in the United States, according to the mayor and Williamson.

Comments (9)
9 Sunday, 26 December 2010 00:02
tye brown
you can live high on the hog for only so long and then you end up living in a cardboard box on the street. this is our fault too but our governments are crooked and they have stolen trillions of dollars from the taxpayers. we are going to have to start over. there is no other way. BUY YOU A PITCHFORK AND KEEP IT REAL SHARP AND READY TO USE .WHEN YOU SEE ANOTHER DISHONEST PUBLIC SERVANT ESCORT HIM OR HER OUT OF THEIR OFFICE WITH YOUR PITCHFORK AND THEN PUT THEM ON TRIAL AND SENTENCE THEM TO HARD LABOR. NEVER LET THIS HAPPEN AGAIN.
8 Tuesday, 14 December 2010 15:50
Jim NJ
I have personally seen the insanity that lerks in Camden. There isn't one straight cop in that city. There is better organization of drugs than political or police. Every corner has a set where you can buy particular drugs. The police are more than aware of every single one of them. I'm not sure that there is one city in America that has more drugs and corruption than Camden. That is to say, in one square mile of that city, there is more drugs than you could possibly imagine. And with drugs, comes weapons and violence. Police are practically non-existant because all they do is harrass white kids who go there to buy drugs. The dealers are left alone. If,
somehow, you were to take all of those drugs out of that city, then the entire city would starve. It's that simple. I am not exaggerating. I have actually heard from very reliable firsthand sources that the entire drug-economy in that city is funded... The money made from the sale, use, and apprehension of those drugs is staggering. They simply can't survive without it anymore.
7 Monday, 06 December 2010 14:01
From Wholesale Layoffs below
6 Monday, 06 December 2010 13:59
Read the books cited above. Americans NEVER give up.
Get rid of the Dept of Education. It has been taken over by School Choice, a deceit perpetrated on America by the ruling elite. Charter Schools are their way to take your children's minds and alter them FOREVER.
5 Monday, 06 December 2010 13:36
Government is nothing more than a group of men and women (employees) that delivers "their services" under threat of violence (arrest) at the barrel of a gun.
""The constitution is a charter of negative liberties; it tells the state to let the people alone; it does not require the federal government or the states to provide services, even so elementary a service as maintaining law and order"" Bowers v Devito, 686 F.2nd 616.
Government (employees) has lied to you FOREVER, no duty is required of it no matter the liars' campaign for office. I refer you to the first sentence above.
Name one thing a person can do that does not require government (employee) permission. I has one guy say "i can wipe my butt". I replied; you did not 'take' the poo without permit (property tax) and you didn't flush the poo without permit.
Again, name one thing. I comprehend that some things need a permit. I am asking for the one thing you do that didn't need government (employee) permission.
4 Sunday, 05 December 2010 22:22
Ronald Whittaker
Considering that it,s almost impossible to legally own a gun for self defense in New Jersey ,residents are basically being thrown to the wolves if Camden can,t provide adequate police services in the town.
3 Sunday, 05 December 2010 17:31
Kenneth Lowndes
The solution is located in the kind of money needed.

Camden could become one of the wealthiest Cities, if it began using the IVAMU's Brand New Currency Standard for issuance of it's own form of Script.

It should become one of the first Cities to be doing so. The IVAMU Standard is the money of the future.

To learn more and to see what its all about, viisit this site here, and SPREAD the word: You deserve to know at least as much as the US Department of Treasury, which already knows all about the IVAMU.
2 Sunday, 05 December 2010 09:28
MR Rogers
They need to close this city... it is unsalvageable.
1 Friday, 03 December 2010 13:06
They should just level Camden and start over. We have our own problems in Texas. Hurricane Rita was the best thing to ever happen to Port Arthur, TX.

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