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Rice Voices Concerns Over Newark Municipal Employee Layoffs

Senator Ronald L. Rice, D-Essex, presides over the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee.

NEWARK – Senator Ronald L. Rice, Chair of the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee, sent a letter yesterday to Commissioner David Socolow of the Department of Labor & Workforce Development outlining concerns he has over hundreds of layoffs of Newark municipal employees in the past year.

“I hear all the time from constituents that they are worried that these layoffs are effecting their safety and well-being,” said Senator Rice, D-Essex. “Given the violent crime rate, high level of unemployment and housing troubles currently facing Newark, there are real fears that these layoffs may make those problems worse.”

In his letter to Commissioner Socolow, Senator Rice expressed his concern that worker rights be protected in any past or future layoffs of Newark municipal and housing authority workers. He particularly wanted to make sure Newark was in full compliance with New Jersey statutes regarding layoffs and requested information from the Department to confirm that all requirements were met.

“We have laws in place to protect civil service workers from arbitrary layoffs. I want to make sure that Newark’s new administration has been following those laws so that Newark’s municipal workers never have to worry that political changes could cost them their jobs,” explained Senator Rice.

Senator Rice said he looks forward to a timely response from the Department of Labor & Workforce Development.

“In the end, if it turns out that these layoffs weren’t done by the books, then these people deserve to have their jobs back and the State must keep a closer eye on the hiring and firing practices of the City of Newark,” added Senator Rice.

Senator Rice’s letter to Commissioner Socolow is attached.