The impoverished, crime-ridden city of Camden will be able to rehire 50 of the police officers and 15 of the firefighters it was forced to lay off in January, thanks to state aid, Mayor Dana Redd announced yesterday.
The good news comes after a promised infusion of $2.5 million approved by Gov. Chris Christie's administration, which had earlier slashed aid to Camden.
On Jan. 18, Camden handed out pink slips to 168 police officers, half of its force, and 67 of its firefighters.
The police and firefighters will return to their jobs April 1, but will be guaranteed their jobs only through the end of June, said Redd's spokesman, Robert Corrales.
"We continue to have ongoing discussions with the governor's office to hopefully sustain those rehires" through the next fiscal year, Corrales said.
The $2.5 million comes from rent, sometimes late, according to past published accounts, paid to the city by the South Jersey Port Corp., a quasi-state agency.
Redd also said she would work with Christie's office and county and local officials to create a "regionalized public-safety and shared-services plan."
Redd and city unions have tangled over her call for concessions she says are needed to bring the city budget back in line. Corrales said no new union talks are scheduled.