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Union Official: Eight West Orange Police Officers to Lose Jobs, 16 More to be Demoted

62-4 vote rejects contract

Eight West Orange police officers will lose their jobs Tuesday after an overwhelming union vote rejected a four-year contract for the department, union officials have confirmed with Patch. Another 16 officers will be demoted.

The 62-4 vote at 5 p.m. Monday for the layoffs turned down a 7.5 percent concession to salary for benefits and 2 percent increases in salary for 2012 and 2013. The superior officers' union voted 26-6 to reject the contract to avoid demotions.

"We've notified the town of the results," said West Orange Police Officer and Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Christopher Jacksic. "I had eight layoffs and four people voted yes and even those being laid off voted no."

West Orange Mayor Robert Parisi said the vote is "disappointing," as the township is wrestling to balance a roughly $3.4 million deficit.

"I wish we could have come to turns for the sake of the community and the sake of the jobs," he said. "We'll continue to work towards resolving these issues."

Jacksic said the police department has different needs than the fire department. "We made numerous offers to (the township) ... numerous suggestions and we were trying to work in conjunction with one another," he said.

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Township police had taken their cause public in recent weeks by distributing flyers around the township, attending council meetings and creating a Facebook page, "Don't Layoff West Orange Police."

Parisi said his administration is working to put a re-organization plan in place by Wednesday for the police department. As part of the plan, he said, police officers will be pulled from schools. "We can't afford that luxury in this climate," he said.

Jacksic said with less officers, the department is going to have challenges. "It's going to be more difficult on the street," he said. "We will do the best to keep the public safe."

Jacksic said the union has no plans to take the township to court over the layoffs. "We haven't found anything illegal with the layoff plan," he said. "There were other ways to remedy this, but they didn't agree."

This is a breaking news story. Continue to check Patch for updates.

Peter Jones March 28, 2011 at 04:57 AM
kevin may I ask where you live? Me and my wife feel in our neighborhood crime has really been flooding in (we're guessing this is due to the HUGE increase in crime in orange, spilling over borders) it's scary to come out and have police cars everywhere yelling at people to go back in their houses because they're looking for an armed suspect this was even before all this layoff talk and stuff, never thought west orange would end up like this
Kevin March 28, 2011 at 05:52 AM
I live near Hazel Elementary, not too far from the boarder of Orange. we've had two incidents that i can think of since i moved here, where cars were broken in to. then there was the one incident related to someone with a gun not far from my house. i read in another patch article that we currently have 96 officers. in 2010, there were 110 officers. and in 2009, 119 officers. looking at stats on city-data, there were 40 robberies in 2009. 29 assaults. 156 burglaries. 504 thefts. 53 auto thefts. 4 counts of arson. all of these, except arson (2) have decreased since 2008 and even 2007. aside from thefts, which were 501 in 2007, 496 in 2008. we are below the national average in every category. going back to 2003, 109 officers is the fewest we have had. 2009 we had 2.81 officers per 1,000 residents. i'm by no means an expert, so i don't know what to make of all the data. but i think there are steps we can take as individuals to make ourselves safer for sure, and of course, we need to support our police officers as best as we can. i'm looking to learn more though, so I value this site, and also I value the Valley Community Watch organization that exists in my part of town as well.
n April 03, 2011 at 05:50 AM
It's ashame that you have no idea of what any of the employees do I W.O. and what "facts" do you know Mr.Know-it-all?
Pam April 03, 2011 at 12:15 PM
I’ve lived near the top of Hazel for 12 years. About 8 years ago my husband’s car was broken into overnight. Other than the incident in with the gun Kevin mentioned (seems to be an anomaly), I haven’t heard of any increase in crime from my neighbors. I’ve never had police prowling my area looking for criminals. Crime is not flooding the area I live in. The police and other public servants in W Orange do a great job. I believe in unions and think we need to support our public sevants. Budgetary realities are everywhere. I work in the public sector and I haven’t had a raise. My health insurance goes up every year; it’s more than doubled over the 10 years I’ve been on my job. When I did get a raise it just barely covered the increase. I assume (and hope) that by pegging the officer’s health benefits a percentage of their salary, the township was attempting not to be in this situation in the future, in which health care cost create an undue burden on the township. My family has no plans to leave W Orange any time soon. My children went to Hazel and Roosevelt; I still have 1 at the high school. Both are going to top ranked schools because of the education they received. I still feel W Orange is a safe place to live. My friends in neighboring towns have the same gripes about their taxes, which are commensurate with ours. Their schools have the same issues. We all need to pull together to keep West Orange Wondeful (Remember the WOW slogan from a few years ago.)
OBSNOOKS April 27, 2011 at 07:22 PM
I believe that if more residents were armed to the teeth, some of these Orcs would think twice about breaking into houses. I catch someone breaking into my house, they gonna get a hole in their center mass.

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