Consolidation Will Save City Thousands and Foster Better Communications Between Police and Fire Divisions While Enhancing Public Safety
JERSEY CITY – Mayor Steven M. Fulop announced that his administration introduced at Monday July 29th City Council Caucus meeting four major consolidation measures to cut costs and streamlines services within municipal government.
The first ordinance establishes a Department of Public Safety and merges the Police and Fire Departments, as well as the Office of Emergency Management, into one central department. The day-to-day operations of each division will continue to be overseen by their respective chiefs, with a Director of Public Safety heading the department.
This consolidation will eliminate the cost of two directors, as well as numerous other administrative costs, with initial anticipated savings of $343,112. The merger will also facilitate better communication between the police and fire divisions as well as enhanced public safety for residents.
“For years, there has been abundant waste and duplication of services across all departments, which is something we identified during the transition,” said Mayor Fulop. “Making municipal government more efficient is one of the top priorities of my administration and tonight we are beginning the process of eliminating waste and creating a government that works for the taxpayers.”
In addition to the creation of the Department of Public Safety, the administration is introducing amendments to city statute that would combine the Division of Architecture and the Division of Engineering, Traffic and Transportation into a single Division within the Department of Public Works. This will eliminate duplicative efforts within the current divisions, conserve resources within DPW, streamline services, and make services more efficient for constituents.
The amendments also create the Division of Sanitation under the Department of Public Works, to perform the services of demolition, street sweeping, snow and ice removal, solid waste collection and recycling, and graffiti removal.
“This consolidation creates the necessary framework for us to partner with the JCIA to determine the best way to provide these essential services going forward,” said Mayor Fulop. “The amendments also authorize DPW to conduct enforcement activities in conjunction with the JCIA, enhancing our ability to improve the quality of life for our residents.”
The Fulop administration is also formally renaming the Mayor’s Action Bureau the Resident Resource Center (“RRC”). The RRC will be a constituent-focused center that will provide “one-stop shopping” for constituent needs. The RRC will eliminate the need for constituents to go from Department to Department to obtain information or have their needs addressed.
As part of this change, three city Divisions will be centralized in the RRC, namely Cultural Affairs, Senior Affairs, and Veterans Affairs – all of which are currently located in the Department of Health and Human Services.
“Bringing Cultural Affairs, Senior Affairs and Veterans Affairs into the Resident Response Center exemplifies how the RRC will function as a more efficient umbrella for the needs of our residents,” said Mayor Fulop. “Having one central office where residents can get a problem solved or file for a permit, is key to being more efficient and responsive to the needs of our community.”
Changes to the ordinance also establish a newly-created programs of Diversity and Inclusion within the RRC to address the unique needs of immigrants seeking integration, as well as promote the celebration and recognition of contributions made by diverse cultures, ethnic groups, and heritage traditions within the City. This office will also utilize existing local, county, state and federal resources to further the goals of assisting Jersey City’s diverse community.
The Division of Personnel will also be renamed the Division of Human Resources, with the Division Director continuing to report to the Business Administrator while working in consultation with an attorney from the Law Department. This will ensure that critical personnel decisions are consistent with prevailing legal standards and requirements and will help the City avoid unnecessary litigation.
Additionally, the Office of Pensions and the Office of Payroll will be consolidated under one Division. It is anticipated that combining these offices under one Division and one Director will expose redundant and duplicative services, increasing opportunities to streamline government and eliminate waste. The essential duties of these offices remain unchanged.
“Not only are these changes essential from a fiscal standpoint, but also from an operational standpoint,” said Mayor Fulop. “We are cutting costs, streamlining services and creating synergy between previously separate departments.”