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Norcross/Ruiz Bill To Help Out-Of-Work Emts Approved By Senate Law And Public Safety Panel

Senator Teresa Ruiz, D-Essex and Union, listens to testimony during a meeting of the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee.

Measure Would Allow Municipalities to Give Laid-Off EMTs Priority Hiring Status For 60 Months Following Job Loss, Save Local Officials Training-Related Costs

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senators Donald Norcross (D-Camden/Gloucester) and M. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex/Union) to help emergency medical technicians get back to work sooner while at the same time saving hiring agencies training-related costs was unanimously approved yesterday by the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee.

The bill (S-2411) would allow municipalities to hire laid-off EMTs without having to use Civil Service Lists, provided the termination occurred within the preceding 60 months. It would also allow the hiring of EMTs who have been laid off before completing a working test or probationary period and had not yet received permanent status. Under these circumstances, a non-permanent EMT would be required to complete the remainder of any probationary/field work test period.

“This legislation would not only make it possible for municipalities to give laid off EMTs priority hiring status, but also create an incentive for towns and cities to do so,” said Senator Norcross. “Hiring emergency responders who already have experience in the field will save municipal officials training costs, which will ultimately benefit taxpayers. This is a win for emergency officials and residents alike.”

“Emergency medical technicians go out of their way to provide life-saving care to residents in our communities every single day they’re on the job,” said Senator Ruiz. “Anything we can do to make it easier for those who have been laid off to get back to work sooner – while at the same time saving taxpayer dollars – is worthy of our consideration.”

A municipality hiring under the provisions of the bill would have to give first priority to its own residents and second priority to residents of the county not residing in the municipality.

The measure is similar to legislation sponsored by Senator Norcross to help firefighters and law enforcement officers. The bill (S-1799) to allow the hiring of laid-off firefighters within 60 months of a job loss, without requiring the use of Civil Service lists, was signed into law in July. A similar measure (S-1800) concerning certain law enforcement officers received final approval in October, and has been sent to the desk of Governor Christie.

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