New Jersey's 1st Legislative District

Senator Michael Testa

Senator Michael Testa

Murphy Denies Hazard Pay for First Responders While Sitting on $2.4 Billion from Federal CARES Act

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LD1 Team Say Holding Federal Relief Funds Hostage in NJ Treasury Is Unacceptable While Corrections Officers and Others Suffer

Following reports that Governor Murphy has denied Law Enforcement Hazard Pay, the First Legislative District team slammed the Governor for not using $2.4 billion of federal CARES Act funds for COVID-19 related expenses, such as Hazard Pay for COVID-19 affected New Jersey Department of Corrections Officers.

Following reports that Gov. Murphy has denied Law Enforcement Hazard Pay, the 1st Legislative District team slammed the Governor for not using $2.4 billion of federal CARES Act funds for COVID-19 related expenses, such as Hazard Pay for COVID-19 affected NJ Dept. of Corrections Officers. (Pixabay)

“The management of the COVID-19 response by the New Jersey Department of Corrections has been beyond negligent and may rise to the level of recklessness,” Senator Michael Testa (R-1) stated. “Without a doubt the Department has needlessly placed the lives of our Corrections Officers at high risk while transporting COVID-19 positive North Jersey inmates to our South Jersey prisons. While hazard pay for these officers is clearly an appropriate use of the CARES Act funding, Governor Murphy has instead decided to squirrel away this money with the hope the feds will let him use it plug holes in his already outrageous 2021 budget.”

Currently, the New Jersey Department of Corrections (NJDOC) has over 483 officers who have tested positive and 6 officers in hospital care. Tragically, 2 officers have lost their lives to COVID-19.

“Our request for hazard pay runs deeper than compensation for our members, the additional pay is for our family members who suffer with us as we walk the states toughest beat,” Michael Gallagher, Local PBA #105 Vice-President, stated. “It’s unfortunate to receive a denial letter from the Governor’s office stating they do not have the funding while we know for a fact he sits on more than $2 billion in federal funding for COVID-19 expenses, such as Hazard Pay.”

Sen. Michael Testa has repeatedly called for an investigation of the NJDOC’s handling of their COVID-19 reponse. On March 31st, Senator Testa called for the immediate pause of all inmate transfers. Depsite this, the NJDOC continued to transport COVID-19 positive inmates across the Garden State.

“Governor Murphy’s denial of rightful hazard pay is a slap in the face for officers working dutifully in an outbreak zone,” Assemblyman Erik Simonsen (R-1) said. “While the Murphy Administration bangs its fist for a federal bail out, they are sitting on more than $2 billion in federal relief that’s sitting in the New Jersey Treasury. This failure to use federal relief funds for their intended purpose is unacceptable and a disservice to our law enforcement officers.”

“Hundreds of officers, spouses, and community members have reached out to our office regarding what has happened behind the bars of our state prison system,” Assemblyman Antwan McClellan (R-1) stated. “The first person accounts I have heard of mass transfers, slow response to close down gyms, and lack of guidance from the NJDOC is startling at the least. At the very minimum, the Governor should rightfully compensate our local officers placed in harm’s way.”

The First Legislative District sends their sympathies to the families of Officer Nelson Perdomo and Officer Maria Gibbs.

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