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New ACFD work not retaliation, judge rules, but still concerned for safety

READ FULL OPINION HERE: IAFF v. AC Opinion

 

The new 56-hour workweek for Atlantic City’s firefighters does not rise to the level of retaliation, Judge Julio Mendez ruled Thursday.
But he is still concerned about safety issues raised by the fire union.
Mendez granted the union two injunctions, keeping the state from eliminating terminal leave of less than $15,000. He also made the three recent deputy chief promotions acting positions.
CLICK HERE FOR JUDGE’S ORDER: ACFD order
But Mendez allowed for the seven promotions of firefighters to battalion chiefs, agreeing with the state that the moves are necessary to keep the department running smoothly.
Thursday’s ruling is part of the ongoing court battle between the city’s public safety unions and the state.
While Mendez said that going to the 56-hour workweek rather than the original plan of 24/48 split did not rise to retaliation, he still was concerned by safety issues the union raised. As a result, he said that Chief Scott Evans could revert to the other schedule if he believes public safety is compromised.
The chief is to track this through monthly reports, Mendez said.
Evans told BreakingAC that the lawyers and  city are still reviewing the ruling, and that he is not sure what power he has in any possible schedule change.
“We have to really wait and see how everyone interprets the judge’s decision,” he said.

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