Tensions ran high leading up to a big vote Monday night at the Atlantic City city council meeting. As Council President William Marsh and Councilman Marty Small butted heads, they also landed on different sides of the issue at hand. "We have a fire chief, police chief, chief of beach patrol and chief of communications and that encompasses about $600,000 in salary," said Marsh. He believes William Glass's position of Public Safety Director is no longer needed in Atlantic City. "The police, the fire department, emergency management and beach patrol should be led by the people who are paid and are responsible to lead them."
Small disagrees. "I just thought that it was essential that we kept Mr. Glass on board for various reasons. Number one, he's very active in the community, he's very accessible to council people to deal with concerns in their community," said the 2nd Ward Councilman.
The council voted in a 7–2 decision on the ordinance to eliminate the position, shifting the responsibilities to the chief's of police, fire and beach patrol departments. "If they can't do their jobs, maybe we can replace them," said Marsh.
"Numbers are way down in crime. Homicides are down from 18–3. That's three too many. But the bottom line is if it's not broken, don't fix it," said Small.
An official with the Local 198 Fire Union is against eliminating the position. "Terrible. Terrible. Terrible for the residents, terrible for the unions, terrible for the city," said Christopher Emmell, President of the union, "He gets the community's advice and then brings it back. He's not just working with one entity, he's working with all of them throughout the city."
"Everything is a team unit," said Small, "If you lose a key member of a team for some way, shape, or form- performance suffers."
According to officials, Glass will remain in the position until January 31st, at which point, the job of Public Safety Director will then be no more.
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