ASSEMBLY PANEL APPROVES CAPUTO BILL MAKING IT EASIER FOR TOWNS TO HIRE LAID-OFF EMT’s

A measure sponsored by Assemblyman Ralph Caputo, making it easier for municipalities to employ emergency medical technicians who have been laid off for economic reasons, passed a key Assembly panel on Thursday.

“Emergency medical technicians are the ones we turn to when most in need,” said Caputo (D-Essex). “They tirelessly work long hours protecting and saving lives, and they deserve every consideration we can give them in this tough economy. This bill is the right thing to do to help keep these courageous public servants on the job as much as possible.”

Under the bill (A-3484), municipalities with paid EMTs would be permitted to appoint permanent status EMTs who were laid off for reasons of economy to vacant positions.

Caputo has also sponsored similar bills to help laid off police (A-207) and firefighters (A-2031). The police bill passed both legislative houses in October. The firefighter one was signed into law in July.

“These bills are commonsense approaches to helping the brave men and women who protect our safety each and every day, but they’re also valuable tools when it comes to property tax relief,” Caputo said. “Making it easier for local governments to hire laid-off EMTs, police and firefighters also helps save money on training costs that won’t have to be incurred. The taxpayers win at every angle.”

Under the new bill, laid off EMTs would get priority status for reemployment for 60 months.

The bill permits municipalities that employ EMTs to hire EMTs who have been laid-off for reasons of the economy before completing their working test or probation period and granted permanent employment status, though a nonpermanent EMT appointed under this program must complete the remainder of any probationary or field work test period.

The bill cleared the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.