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Whelan Statement On Christie Administration’s Plan To Eliminate Division Of Fire Safety

TRENTON – Senator Jim Whelan (D-Atlantic), Chair of the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee, issued the following statement today regarding a proposed plan by the Christie Administration that would eliminate the Division of Fire Safety in the Department of Community Affairs and dispense its responsibilities throughout state government. The plan is currently being discussed by administration officials but, as far as can be ascertained, no public discussion has occurred.

“The governor’s budget has already done enough to harm towns in New Jersey in terms of public safety. Now his administration wants to eliminate Fire Safety and send its responsibilities zigzagging through a maze of government bureaucracy. It just does not make any sense to me.

“If this was about eliminating redundancy of services, then I might understand it. But that does not appear to be the case here. Of course, it is hard to tell since we don’t have many details. The Christie Administration needs to answer some questions about their proposal and any further discussions on it should be done in public. I would like to know how many fire safety personnel throughout New Jersey they talked to about this. How does the administration justify eliminating the one centralized location for fire officials and administrators to reach out to in the state?

“As a former mayor of an urban area, I can attest to the importance of coordinated fire fighting and investigative efforts. The Division often plays a crucial component in those areas. I will await to hear the administration’s response, but I fail to see the logic of this proposal.”