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Assembly OK’s Jimenez, Prieto, Eustace & Coughlin Bill to Ease Transition for NJ Firefighters Moving from Volunteer to Paid Departments

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Angelica Jimenez (D-Bergen/Hudson), Speaker-elect Vincent Prieto (D-Bergen/Hudson), Tim Eustace (D-Bergen) and Craig Coughlin (D-Middlesex) to relax recertification requirements for certain volunteer firefighters who are moving to paid positions and are already certified was approved Thursday by the Assembly.

“Currently, volunteer firefighters who go through the same training as paid firefighters must recertify when transferring to a paid department regardless of when they received their original certification,” said Jimenez. “This helps make the process fairer for volunteer firefighters who have gone through the training and have been certified as capable for the job as their paid counterparts, while at the same time eliminating the added cost associated with recertification.”

The bill (A-3819) would exclude individuals who have completed the certification process within the last year from having to recertify when transferring from a volunteer to a paid department.

“These firefighters volunteered to do a dangerous job. Now that they are transitioning to a paid position in the same line of work, we should make the transition as smooth as possible,” said Prieto.

“If the training is the same and their certification is fairly current, I don’t see why volunteer firefighters who are now moving to paid positions should have to retake the training,” said Eustace.

“This bill helps avoid redundancy and allows volunteer firefighters who have recently gone through the training certification process to get to work sooner than later,” said Coughlin.

The bill was approved 80-0 and now heads to the Senate for further consideration.