A green billboard stood conspicuously along the bend of Main Street and Ashwood Terrace as parade-goers marched through West Orange's downtown corridor for the 61st annual St. Patrick's Day Parade Sunday.
The sign, endorsed by the West Orange Patrolmen's Benevolent Association and the Superior Officer's Association, read:
"Happy St. Patrick's Day: March 15, 2012 marked the one year anniversary of layoffs and demotions. Working at manpower levels not seen in 30 years. Still dedicated to protecting and serving the citizens of West Orange. We thank you for your continued support."
Union officials told Patch the billboard was mounted last Friday morning and will remain through the month.
"We want to thank the public for all their continued support and just explain to them that we are still working at numbers that we haven't seen in 30 years, we want to advise them of that, that we are working understaffed," West Orange Police Officer and Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Christopher Jacksic said.
Mayor Robert Parisi did not comment on the billboard but said, so far, a layoff plan has not been submitted in the upcoming budget.
A year ago, eight West Orange police officers were laid off and 16 others demoted after a union vote overwhelmingly rejected a four-year contract for the department.
The Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, Local 25, rejected a second contract offer in June and filed for arbitration after months of failed negotiations with the township.
The administration and Local 25 continue in arbitration and have yet settle.