JERSEY CITY, NJ - In an ordinance that had significant input from the police union, the Jersey City Council introduced a new plan to update their traffic control manual allowing off-duty assignments to be given to Jersey City Police.
The police unions and the city came into conflict more than a year ago when Mayor Steven Fulop and Public Safety Director James Shea pulled the plug on a long-standing off-duty program that allowed police officers to supplement their income by working on construction sites and other projects to provide traffic control.
The ordinance introduced by the Jersey City Council on June 10 would restore some of the off-duty jobs, requiring Jersey City police officers to be used at signalized intersections, while giving the discretion to the Public safety Director to assign either flag men or off duty police to other projects.
For the most part, Jersey City off-duty cops will replace the state police that took over these jobs after the city shut down the program two years ago.
The ordinance, however, would continue to honor agreements with Hudson County, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and the state police regarding roadways that are under their jurisdiction such as the approaches to the Holland Tunnel, highways such as Route 139 and Route 440, and county roads such as Kennedy Boulevard.
While the ordinance will have a second reading prior to a final vote, several council members want to waive the 90-day waiting period and have the new ordinance go into effect immediately after being passed.
“We need this ordinance to go into effect as soon as possible,” said Councilman
Councilman Richard Boggiano who said he had worked closely with Rivera and Councilmember Mira Prinz-Arey on the ordinance.
“We spent the last year and half working on this,” Boggiano said. “While we’re not all the way back, this is a beginning.”
The city business administrator Brian Platt said there has been a lot of discussion about this ordinance. “We’ve been working with the unions,” he said.
“There was a lot of back and forth, but this ordinance includes the changes the president of the union wanted,” Councilman Daniel Rivera, who added that the discussions were, at times, “pretty stressful.”
Editor's Note: The Publisher of TAPinto Jersey City also serves as a consultant to the JCPOBA
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