Labor Union Also Agrees to Work Cooperatively with Essex County During the Opening of Correctional Facility and Relocation of Inmates

Newark, NJ – Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. announced Monday, February 23rd that PBA Local 157 has dismissed its lawsuit against Essex County.

“Consolidating our two antiquated jails into our state-of-the-art correctional facility was always the goal of this project and has never been kept a secret,” DiVincenzo said. “We have spent $416 million on this facility and have done everything possible to make sure a safe, secure and clean environment is provided for our Corrections Officers, civilian employees and inmates,” he added.

“The decision by PBA Local 157 to drop their lawsuit has finally put to rest the debate over the safety of the site,” the County Executive said. “My administration has known all along that the site has been safe and our state-of-the-art facility will provide the best environment for Corrections Officers and inmates. Our only objective has been to move this project forward,” he noted.

“Getting the construction of our new Correctional Facility completed during the last year has required a total team effort and moving into the facility will be no different. We need the cooperation and support from our Corrections Officers during this critical time,” the County Executive noted. “It is time for the County and PBA to put this lawsuit behind us and work together to make sure we have a smooth and orderly transition into our state-of-the-art facility,” he added.

The dismissal states that PBA Local 157, the plaintiff in the lawsuit, “consents to and shall cooperate with the opening and initial occupancy of the new Essex County Jail facility located on Doremus Avenue in Newark.” However, the dismissal does not limit the rights of individual members of the union to appeal “any layoffs of any individual members.”

DiVincenzo is scheduling the opening of the new Correctional Facility for the middle of March. Once all inmates are relocated to the new facility, the Newark Jail and Jail Annex in North Caldwell will be closed.

Construction of the new Correctional Facility cost $416 million and was completed on January 7th. After six years of mismanagement, DiVincenzo had the project completed within one year after he took office.

The County Executive has been working closely with the New Jersey Department of Corrections and Department of Personnel, as well as the Office of the Governor, to provide the 150 Essex County Corrections Officers who will be laid off with the opportunity to become State Corrections Officers. All 150 Corrections Officers who will be laid off on March 15th have been invited to participate in the intergovernmental transfer process. Those who have chosen to participate have attended an orientation session, completed necessary paperwork, taken a physical exam and been interviewed. All Corrections Officers who are hired by the State will undergo additional training required by NJDOC.

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