Mayor Redd has leaned on concessions from the public safety bargaining units as part the plan and was partially successful in getting them to bend. The Mayor wanted a 10% pay reduction but the union stuck to a 3.5% drop in pay for its membership.
Clearly this is the battlefield of the future for firefighter compensation across the nation. New hires and some veterans will accept lower pay and fewer benefits or they won’t be hired or promoted. Camden is not the first to lay off police and fire but they are certainly among the higher profile cities dealing with the problem.
Camden is not a one off casualty of the great recession. There is pain ahead for city budgets. Police and fire will be impacted, more layoffs will occur. Public safety will be measured differently in the future by lower pay for incoming employees and increased use of volunteers. Firefighters will still be needed to backfill some spots opened by retirement but firefighting is not a growth industry, and that is sad.