(TRENTON) – When the State assumed control of Atlantic City in 2016 to stabilize the city’s finances and ensure appropriate distribution of government services, public service workers like police officers, firefighters and City Hall employees lost their civil service status that enabled them to address grievances such as degraded working conditions, increased workloads, lack of resources, arbitrary disciplinary actions and compensation and benefits.
Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo (D-Atlantic) recently introduced legislation to amend the Municipal Stabilization and Recovery Act (MSRA), which guides State takeovers of jurisdictions, to restore civil service status and protections for public employees.
“For the past five years, public workers in Atlantic City have coped with demanding workloads, extended hours, and little resources to serve residents, all for lower pay compared to other municipalities in the state,” said Mazzeo. “The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated these issues, as many public employees played critical roles in the city’s pandemic response. Under MSRA, they have limited outlets to express their concerns and advocate for change. Atlantic City is on much more solid footing than it was in 2016. It’s critical that our police officers, firefighters, and essential public workers regain the labor rights and protections they deserve.”
Additionally, the bill extends the length of State monitoring under MSRA for nine years instead of five.
“Atlantic City is undoubtedly on the road to recovery. The goal of this bill is to protect our dedicated public workers as we work toward the day the city’s operations are once again under local control,” said Mazzeo.
The measure now goes to the Assembly Speaker for further consideration.