NJ corrections officers latest target of Gov. Murphy (Opinion)
Despite supporting the governor in the past two elections, the NJ State PBA has clearly had enough.
Enough of the crushing policies that make it harder for our brave corrections officers to do their job. Enough of the inconsistent policy decisions and the unfair burden being put on the men and women who keep our prisons running and dangerous criminals off the streets.
There are 5,045 corrections officers in PBA 105 and according to their attorney Frank Crivelli who joined me on air Thursday, 35% are eligible to retire TODAY.
Imagine if nearly 1,800 COs retired today and started collecting their well-deserved pension?
The CO staff is already in crisis with a shortage of approximately 400 officers. To make matters worse, the ridiculous state mandate to test every week is causing HEALTHY people who test positive to quarantine for two weeks. If an unvaccinated officer is "exposed" to a person who tests positive, they are forced to quarantine as well. It's utter madness.
Meanwhile, no similar protocol exists for inmates. If this was really about the virus, wouldn't everyone be subject to the same rules?
Executive Order 283 is at the center of the latest issue as it forces officers to get the jab, or get boosted if they have already received the first two shots OR LOSE THEIR LIVELIHOOD. How does this pass the smell test?
We know from doctors and government officials that being vaccinated does not stop the spread of the virus. It may be effective in limiting symptoms and hospitalizations but the numbers of vaccinated people being hospitalized as reported from Israel and the UK seem to raise some questions about the overall efficacy. Not to mention the potential for adverse effects which have been widely reported following booster shots.
Regardless of which side of the vaccine debate you fall, I'm sure we can all agree that consistency and equal application of the rules should certainly apply. Forcing a shot among healthy COs who are already pushing the system to the limit with staffing shortages and overtime makes zero sense. The fact that the EO does not offer a "test-out" option makes it more clear in my opinion that this is all about power and money and has very little, if anything, to do with public health.
Adding insult to this clear injury, a corrections officer called the show and pointed out that COs, many of who had comorbidities and were in the vulnerable category when it comes to COVID, worked through the height of the health crisis. Some lost their lives. Did the governor even attend one of those funerals, not that his presence would have even been welcome, or have given the family any peace of mind, but at least you might be able to think the governor cared about the human toll his policies are taking on our community heroes?
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Spadea. Any opinions expressed are Bill's own. Bill Spadea is on the air weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m., talkin’ Jersey, taking your calls at 1-800-283-1015.