State overseer cuts Atlantic City police pay, increases hours

Atlantic City’s police will see salary cuts of as much as 30 percent, along with longer hours and increased health costs beginning Wednesday, according to a notice sent from state overseer Jeffrey Chiesa on Tuesday.
The five-page directive, first reported by radio host Harry Hurley, gets rid of longevity and education incentives and raises the limit for when overtime starts from 40 hours in a one-week period to 86 hours over two weeks.
That means the officers are likely going to a much-talked about 12-hour work shift, said PBA President Matt Rogers, who was surprised by the memo.
“We were still engaged in negotiations,” Rogers said. “Every time we came to an agreement, they wanted more.”
After spending the weekend in talks, they were expecting a counter offer. Instead, the union’s attorney notified Rogers on Tuesday morning about the cuts.
“They did it on a day when we’re in a state of emergency, when all the courts are closed,” he noted.
It also comes days before an expected ruling on whether the state can break the current firefighter contract and make massive personnel cuts.
Rogers said he doesn’t know if the state got tipped that a favorable verdict is coming, or that they are just trying to “bully us” into an agreement.
Police have been  anxiously watching the firefighters’ case since it could also affect how they respond. The union had been trying to avoid a similar move to the courts, but that may not be avoided now, Rogers said.
“We certainly don’t want to be tied up in a costly trial,” he said.
The cuts in pay and incentives varies in how much it impacts each officer, Rogers explained. But he said it ranges from about 6 percent to 25 to 30 percent.