Johnson Bill to Help Unemployed Civilian Federal Firefighters Secure Work Released by Assembly Panel

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D-Bergen) that would allow municipalities or fire districts to hire certain civilian federal firefighters who lost their jobs through no fault of their own was advanced this week by an Assembly panel.

“These are able and experienced firefighters who lost their jobs, not because they were incompetent, but because of workforce reductions or cuts,” said Johnson. “They should not be disadvantaged because of economic realities that were beyond their control. If these firefighters are qualified, then they should have the opportunity to work without these rules holding them back.”

The bill (A-2375) would permit a municipality or fire district to appoint a civilian federal firefighter who lost his position as the result of a reduction in force or the termination of their position at a federal military installation, even if the municipality has adopted the Civil Service rules. Under current law, a municipality may only hire a civilian federal firefighter, while ignoring Civil Service rules, if the military installation has been closed. This bill would extend this hiring preference to firefighters who are unemployed as a result a reduction in force or elimination of firefighter’s position.

Current law requires the Civil Service Commission to prepare and circulate to municipalities and fire districts a list of the civilian federal firefighters eligible for appointment to a local fire department.

The bill was released 11-0 by the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee on Monday and now heads to the full Assembly for further consideration.