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Unions challenge Jersey City municipal layoffs
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Unions challenge Jersey City municipal layoffs

Published: Tuesday, July 19, 2011, 3:03 AM
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

Unions representing Jersey City municipal employees have filed an appeal with the state Civil Service Commission, challenging some 100 layoffs that the administration has carried out so far this year.

The appeal alleges the city changed titles of politically connected employees to avoid laying them off, kept temporary employees on staff for longer than it is supposed to, and generally made it impossible for state officials to determine whether the city?s layoff plan was the result of good-faith efforts.

The city has laid off nearly 100 workers this year and is scheduled to lay off an additional 16 in the next few weeks.
City officials have ?been doing so many egregious things for years,? according to Chuck Carroll, president of the Jersey City Public Employee Inc. Local 246, one of three unions that filed the appeal.

?They are like the gang that couldn?t shoot straight,? Carroll said of city officials.

Carroll?s union is represented by former Assistant Corporation Counsel Paul Mackey, who declined to comment.

The appeal doesn?t seem likely to save the jobs of any recently laid-off employees, according to a source who did not want to be identified.

A state official said the CSC is reviewing more than 700 appeals filed in the last 12 months.

The city defended the layoffs.

?While difficult, the layoffs were necessary due to loss of revenue and were properly implemented for reasons of economy and efficiency and approved by the Civil Service Commission, pursuant to state statute,? said city spokeswoman Jennifer Morrill.

Morrill said she couldn?t comment further since the matter is now in litigation. But a city official who asked not to be named made it clear what the city thinks of Carroll?s allegations.

?They?re false,? the official said. ?They?re (union members) upset, they?re angry, but they?re not pointing to any specific examples because there are none.?

Carroll, though, said he has plenty of examples he has submitted with the appeal.

According to Civil Service Commission spokesman Peter Lyden, the appeal will be sent to the Office of Administrative Law, where it will go before an OAL judge. After a hearing, the judge will forward a recommendation to the CSC, which will then make a final decision on the appeal.

Since July 2010, 748 appeals similar to Jersey City?s have been filed with the CSC, Lyden said.

Posted on: 2011/7/19 14:24

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