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Bucco/Dunn Bill Helping Small Towns Hire Emergency Management Coordinators Becomes Law

Measure Waives Residency Requirement for Some Municipalities

Legislation sponsored by Senator Anthony M. Bucco and Assemblywoman Aura Dunn helping ensure small municipalities are well-prepared to cope with local emergencies was signed into law today.

The new law, S-551/A-1057, makes it easier for towns with less than 5,000 residents to hire emergency management coordinators who play crucial roles in preparing for and reacting to local disasters and crises.

“Emergency Management Coordinators are responsible for drafting crisis response plans for towns, identifying and locating critical resources, and coordinating responses from emergency service providers,” said Bucco (R-25). “Smaller municipalities have struggled to find qualified candidates who are willing to make the three-year commitment. The requirement to fill the post with a resident of the municipality is much more restrictive on towns with smaller populations.”

New Jersey law has required municipal emergency management coordinators to be residents of the town unless the local government participates in a shared service agreement.

The new law sponsored by Bucco and Dunn and enacted today allows the appointment of a nonresident as emergency management coordinator for municipalities with populations of less than 5,000 residents if a qualified resident cannot be recruited. The appointee must reside within the same county.

“Some small towns may not be able to fill the role with a qualified candidate from within their municipal borders,” said Dunn (R-25). “With this law, we can ensure municipalities can hire someone with the right skills to fill a critical role. Just like the current pandemic we are experiencing; an unexpected disaster could strike at any time. We can prepare by having the right people in the right place at the right time.”

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