(Jersey City, NJ- October 17, 2023) -- The JC Police Superior Officers Association ("JC SOA") has achieved a significant win in the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division, further solidifying its stance against the city's attempts to hinder rightful advancement opportunities for its officers. The appellate division victory also gained significant backing from the Attorney General of New Jersey.
Attorney General Matthew Platkin submitted a 20-page letter brief supporting the New Jersey Civil Service Commission, which showed the gravity of our cause.
Captain Pawel Wojtowicz, the Superior Officers Union President, stated, "Our triumph in the appellate court combined with the Attorney General’s support shines a light on Mayor Fulop’s potentially politically-motivated attempts to tamper with police department functions."
The Attorney General's detailed letter strongly countered the City's arguments, particularly emphasizing that the City failed to demonstrate how the administration of the Police Lieutenant examination would cause irreparable harm. Furthermore, the AG pointed out that the City's contention that studying for an examination would detract from the work of its sergeants "strains all logic." The letter firmly establishes that conducting the examination is in line with the State's strong public policy favoring competitive testing.
This victory has brought to light Mayor Steve Fulop's potential motivations, which could be tied to his recently announced run for governor in the Democratic primary.
Captain Wojtowicz added, "While we applaud the appellate court decision, we're also realizing the depth of the political motivations behind the City's decisions. It's disheartening to deduce that Mayor Fulop is potentially using the police department's size and functions as leverage for his gubernatorial ambitions."
The ongoing dispute revolves around the Civil Service testing for hiring and promotions. The list of Lieutenants was exhausted months ago, with the city neglecting to inform the Civil Service Commission. Following the Commission's decision to order testing for all eligible candidates, the City decided to challenge this at the Appellate Court.
Capt. Wojtowicz highlighted the appellate court's findings, "The City's appeal might have inadvertently unveiled their intentions. They've stated their objective plainly: a reduction in the police department's supervision. Already operating 17% below the City Council's authorized level, anticipated retirements could mean reductions of up to 30-40% in department supervision."
He added, "Potential reductions of this scale will profoundly affect public safety. The 'Defund the Police' rhetoric may align with some political agendas, but in reality, it threatens our residents' safety. Our community deserves trust in an efficient law enforcement system, not to see their tax dollars wasted on politically motivated challenges."
Capt. Wojtowicz concluded, "Our commitment is unwavering – to the safety, growth, and betterment of Jersey City. We'll continue to ensure that our officers get the advancement opportunities they deserve, irrespective of any political games being played. Our recent victory in the appellate court and support from our Attorney General reinforces our determination."