The global coronavirus pandemic is affecting all aspects of life right now, including the long-planned consolidation of the South Orange and Maplewood fire departments.
Originally targeted for a January 2020 launch, the “joint meeting” merged fire department was delayed to April due to the complexities involved such as working out the functioning of the joint meeting structure, moving Maplewood firefighters into the civil service structure, and working out the functioning of emergency medical services provided by the joint department.
But now, the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and other partners have more pressing issues to attend to, due to the spread of the novel coronavirus.
“Municipalities and state officials are focusing on COVID-19, coronavirus relief programs and logistics to assist residents, small business owners, independent contractors, and employees including first responders at this time,” said Maplewood Mayor Frank McGehee when asked for an update.
“I reported during our last meeting [in March] that the fire department discussions are postponed for now. Our partners at the state rightfully cancelled a meeting that was scheduled for this month,” said South Orange Village President Sheena Collum in response to a request for comment.” As Frank mentioned, we are all focusing on mitigating the effects of the Coronavirus and keeping the public safe.”
Read more about the planned consolidation here: