If Governor Christie would devote even a third of the time he is spending these days behind a microphone, at a game, on television or, apparently, drawing up charts towards actually working on behalf of a solution for the workforce in Atlantic City we would already have a resolution. The Governor has shown time and again that he would much rather attack from his bully pulpit than work towards compromise and today’s display at the Statehouse was no different. Governor Christie would rather lie to the public and blame Speaker Prieto, the media, the Office of Legislative Services, and the very people working to protect Atlantic City families rather than look to the real source of the problem.
In all of the Governor’s overheated attacks, he conveniently ignores HIS failed investment in the Revel Casino using taxpayer’s money as well as the fact that HIS State Division of Local Government Services has been in control of the city’s finances for the last six years. Governor Christie also neglects to mention that it was HIS personally appointed state monitors who spent millions of dollars and placed the city in worse shape than it was before they got there. Of course, we’ve seen this movie before and the Governor will simply ignore basic truths and make up his own facts as he goes along.
The Atlantic City PBA has been working with Mayor Guardian on ways to help Atlantic City. Together, the mayor and law enforcement have agreed to almost $10 million dollars in salary reductions, a 25% reduction in manpower, and a decrease in supervisory staff. Together, they have taken real steps to curtail overtime, significantly alter salary guidelines and reduce the top pay for patrol officers. In total, by working together, the compromises reached have allowed Atlantic City to realize a reduction of more than 20% in the cost of the police department while limiting the local impact on public safety. In fact, under the leadership of Police Chief Henry White, Atlantic City has experienced a reduction in crime despite the decrease in manpower. This is what happens when people come together with a mutual respect and an idea towards solving a problem.
We stand with Speaker Prieto and the members of the General Assembly who have displayed courage and leadership in standing with the men and women of the New Jersey State PBA throughout this latest attempt to trample collective bargaining rights and hurt hard working middle class families.
Pat Colligan is the President of the New Jersey State Police Benevolent Association