Public Safety a Major Concern as Galloway Considers Layoffs

Notices were issued to nearly all employees on Monday.

Galloway Township Mayor Don Purdy, speaking at the start of Tuesday night’s council meeting at the municipal complex. reiterated the township’s commitment to public safety but said the township recognizes the financial crisis the township and the nation currently faces.

The comments were made following news reports over the weekend that every township employee, including those in the , would receive layoff notices. On Monday, Sept. 10, most employees received those notices as the township continues to work on the 2013 budget.

Only those classified as statutory employees didn’t receive the notices. According to Township Clerk Thalia C. Kay, these employees included: Kay; Chief Financial Officer Marilyn Dolcy; Tax Collector Sharon Riley; Tax Assessor Dave Jackson; and Registrar Carol Hackney. Police Chief Patrick Moran confirmed that he and Police Captain Alan Kane didn’t receive layoff notices either.

During the meeting, Purdy said about “90 percent” of employees received the notices.

“We all know not every employee is going to be laid off,” Purdy said. “We’re not going bankrupt. We’re not closing the doors.”

Employees must receive notices of possible layoffs before any layoffs can take effect, according to state law.

Employees were first furloughed two years ago, after an initial notice of possible layoffs, such as the one that was issued Monday.

Layoffs were first discussed during the , shortly after Arch Liston took over as Township Manager. Employees have been for the last two years, and the most recent round of employee furloughs ended on Aug. 31.

“Furloughs were a great concept when we needed to cut costs and we thought the economy would recover,” Liston said during a budget workshop earlier this year. “That hasn’t happened.”

Employees received mandatory furloughs, but later won a after those furloughs were extended. As part of the agreement, employees agreed not to take back wages. They agreed to 12 furlough days in 2012 in exchange for not having to worry about layoffs.

That agreement expires Dec. 31. With the expiration of that agreement, the township issued layoff notices to all employees, although it’s unclear how many people may need to be laid off.

“I can’t tell a number because we don’t know a number,” Purdy said. “I can’t tell you everything’s going to be OK, or that only a few people are going to be laid off. … The township manager said we’ll have to do layoffs. This is a real crisis.”

Purdy said the impact of tax appeals on the township this year alone is $1.5 million.

“It was another million dollars last year, and it was hundreds of thousands of dollars the year before that,” Purdy said.

Moran spoke during the public comment portion, reiterating the difficulties the police department facing the department, which has seen a reduction from 74 to 54 officers since 2009.

“Since 2009, we’ve had a 27 percent drop in staff and a 36 percent increase in calls for service,” Moran said. “Our response time has increased by one minute for all types of calls. We have one of the largest municipalities in the county, and during the day, it increases by 20,000 people (because of the traffic going to Atlantic City, the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey and AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center Mainland Campus).”

Moran pointed to an increased police presence in Atlantic City.

“As the police increase in Atlantic City, the criminal element becomes displaced,” Moran said. “We’ve been stopping more cars and arresting more people.”

He spoke about the police department giving back $250,000-$300,000 over the last four years, and the shared services with Absecon and Mullica Township. He also spoke of the inevitable fatigue that sets in with a smaller department.

“You can only run for so long before you have to slow down and walk,” Moran said. “It doesn’t appear we’re going to be able to walk. We may have to run further and faster and any decrease in the police department will have a devastating impact on public safety.”

After he spoke to council, the employees who packed the municipal complex for Tuesday night’s meeting broke out in applause.

Purdy said he wouldn’t vote in favor of laying off any police officers, but he also spoke of the sacrifices all employees have made.

“The employees have given back more than any employees in any other municipality in the area,” Purdy said. “This hurts me. I couldn’t sleep for three days.  … We’re talking about people with families. We’ve been working hard to come up with fixes, but there’s no fat left in this budget. There’s nothing we can do to help the problem right now.”

Shawn G September 12, 2012 at 03:04 AM
Im moving this place is going to be like the wild west! Horrible idea
Keep Galloway Green September 12, 2012 at 04:25 AM
Did Purdy think those zillion sheriff sales in the Press every Monday would not have an effect on Galloway? Casinos have been laying off people for the last 6 years. This is no surprise. Casinos will continue to layoff people as long as new out of state casinos open. Laided off casino workers = forclosures. Galloway is the worst run town in NJ. And Purdy wonders why people laugh at Galloway...it's run by morons!
Ron Schreiber September 12, 2012 at 09:52 AM
. I couldn’t sleep for three days.Galloway TWP has the best public works people .they know their jobs front an back .The employees have given back more than any employees in any other municipality in the area,” when these people go "what than ?who's going to pick up the mess ?leaves ,snow removal,down trees at 2:00 am ?same people getting laid off for doing their job .while others fill their pockets with tax dollars .I just wonder how many nights of sleep these people lost?. The morel is gone .the guys just look to tomorrow with a little hope .hope that things get better.
Jim McElwee September 12, 2012 at 10:57 AM
This problem didn't happen over night.It goes back to 2003-04 when Galloway was in good shape and actually had a surplus budget. Instead of making plans for the future and putting money aside the Administration bought Soccor Fields that were suppose to host tournaments that would bring in people and generate revenue for local business. This problem won't fix itself over night either but Galloway needs a strategic plan to start paying as we go. Unfortunatly that means cutting back on structural deficite, which nobody wants but that is what a poor economy and mismanagement ( by people no longer around to point a finger at) has brought us to. I Support Mayor Purdy's statement that the Police Dept cannot sacrifice any more than it has and not effect Public Safety. The answer, everybody agrees, is to increase commercial ratables and to do that you need an AGRESSIVE marketing campaign and go after companys that are looking to build and grow here in Galloway.
RU kidding me September 12, 2012 at 11:39 AM
Does Purdy ever think? So concerned about the police, which I agree are understaffed. But what about the people in public works, finance, community services, construction etc.... I guess they don't matter. Maybe you have to control towing to get his attention. He has no solutions...run him out in 2013
Don G September 12, 2012 at 12:04 PM
I think mcelwee just showed why not to vote for him. He may do better holding up a picture of his opponent and say at least I'm not mooney. Here's why Jim. In order to close a 3 mill deficit, you need approx 15 mill in property tax revenue. In order to generate that you need nearly 750mill yes almost a billion in assessed property value. News flash jimbo, no marketing plan will help that no matter how aggressive. Now that's not to say one wouldn't be part of the solution but it's only part of it. The real solution is to reduce debt load and save the nearly 3 mill in bond payments. I hate to say it but they need Gougher back as CFO she understood this and was heading that direction with a Mayor that understood. So tell us all Jim what would you do? In detail please! A lot rides on this upcoming election. Do you have what it takes? The public awaits!
RU kidding me2 September 12, 2012 at 12:52 PM
Let's recap the Purdy administration.... Towing contract for himself. Misappropriation of public funds Manager prostitution scandal alleged of course Layoffs 3 million $ budget shortage Lawsuits for employment malpractice ( Tilton, Smith, unions) If town hall needs to be run like a business as the mayor always says, he needs to be fired!!!
Keep Galloway Green September 12, 2012 at 01:58 PM
Don't forget Purdy wants to close Post Office...they never fix anything at Patriot Lake & they keep Marylyn Dolcy on the payroll ( even the Press said she should be fired) while 90% of the workforce gets layoff notices. This Mayor & Council are a joke! Feds busted Trenton Mayor...they should have a good look into Galloway!
Jim McElwee September 12, 2012 at 02:59 PM
I won't debate you in the limited space in this format but if you want to hear my ideas, contact me I'm in the book. I would be glad to discuss the issues with you. You seem to have access to good information. You also give reason to not vote for me than agree with my marketing plan as being part of the solution? I'm perplexed. Listen, I just want to get things back on track. I don't make any promises except to work hard for Galloway.
Galloway Resident September 12, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Short of building 3 casinos in Galloway, the “tax ratables plan” will not solve anything. We are not going to get out of this by building a few pizzerias. Every municipality in the country is in the same boat we’re in. That means the competition to attract businesses is huge, and in order to aggressively go after businesses willing to build, you have to outspend every other municipality with the same idea. The types of businesses we need to help solve our financial problems are being promised everything under the sun, including no property taxes. From a risk-reward standpoint, the amounts of money you would have to spend, versus the amount of ratables that you would get, do not add up and would put us more in the hole. Even if there was no cost involved, this is a plan that pays off in the very very looooong run, not the get rich quick, solve our problems now, plan council is making it out to be. The best bet for Galloway right now is to get rid of all unnecessary expenses, stop abusing employees so they stop suing you, and imprison everyone who has taken 1 penny that they shouldn’t have. If we can do that, we can ride this storm out, and go after those ratables in better times.
Shawn G September 12, 2012 at 03:52 PM
There are a lot of new faces on council hopefully they can fix this. They seem more sincere than the last group. Galloway resident i like your ideas but i must disagree when you say every town is going through this. Some never have, some have but now they fixed the problem. If they can do it why cant we. It must be those in charge are just smarter in other towns. Im tired of the scandals if you hire someone who has no real solutions than find someone else. I Lived in pleasantville for 2 years and couldn't wait to leave. Now im starting to fell the same about this place believe me when i say we need our police. Jim i love your ideas good luck in November.
VTPat September 12, 2012 at 11:18 PM
"the Administration bought Soccor Fields that were suppose to host tournaments that would bring in people and generate revenue for local business." Jim I never heard that line before, I was against the Soccer Field fiasco, spoke at a council meeting and took alot of heat but if I would have heard that I really would have had some ammo. Maybe I wasn't listening, happens sometime when politicians have the floor too long and bore me. If the soccer field joke played on us had included that line I never heard it and would have made my presentation even easier. I'll assume I am at fault for missing that. It seems to me that the problem here is not Republican vs Democrat. the problem here is old boy network vs common sense. The old boy netwrok struggles to hang on to an obviously tenuous grip on power, supported by local, long time residents of different factions, and common sense, supported by, well, common sense. Harry Scheeler has done the job for the Dems yet they refuse to run with the ball firmly tucked by Harry into their mid-section. That tells me something Jim. It tells me Galloway needs to get away from the old boy network of those linked by biz and family tiesw and get to the new era. galloway families of old are gone, the new era is here. No more 60s style multi party duplicity.
Keep Galloway Green September 13, 2012 at 11:59 PM
Now Galloway wants to spend 1 mil $$ on new police radios according to the Current. But Galloway doesn't have the $$$ so Arch wants to get the $$ thru a bond. Yep...Galloway is broke so borrow a mil $$$ to buy police radios at $ 4000 each. This town is so mismanaged it makes the Twilight Zone look normal. Looks like Arch loves to spend $$$ Galloway doesn't have. How long has he been in Galloway?...5 minutes?
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