Leadership, News

Camden Firefighters’ Union Meet Over Possible Layoffs

Federal staffing grant ends in June

Jennifer Joyce, FOX 29, with permission

CAMDEN, N.J. (FOX 29) – A meeting was held Wednesday night to address concerns of possible Camden firefighters layoffs as a federal grant is set to run out in June.

A life or death issue that depends on adequate manpower, training, and equipment, according to Camden Firefighters Union President Ali Cooper.

“We’re not even at the staffing level and we should be at and talking about deduction,” Cooper said Wednesday night.

Cooper is concerned about what could happen in an attempt to close a 2.4 million dollar budget shortfall within the Camden City Fire Department. 2.4 million is the amount provided through a federal grant in 2017 the funding helped the department hire 27 new firefighters. The money runs dry in June. The union is fearing layoffs.

“We’re concerned about public safety, concerned that the community be educated on the circumstances that could play out,” Pete Perez, VP of Camden Firefighters Union, said.

Union representatives addressed the situation and answered questions at a community meeting Wednesday night. Many in the crowd were Camden firefighters.

Camden Mayor Frank Moran told FOX 29’s Jennifer Joyce over the phone that community meetings on this issue are premature. He says he does not want to layoff any firefighters and is making every effort, including working with state and local leaders to prevent pink slips.