Acting Gov. Nicholas Scutari Approves New Fire Chaplain Law in New Jersey

New Jersey Fire Chaplain Law
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New Jersey Fire Chaplain Law

TRENTON, NJ – Acting Governor Nicholas Scutari has ushered in a new era for New Jersey’s fire departments by signing a law that grants local governing bodies more leeway in the appointment of fire department chaplains. This move is seen as a significant step in recognizing the invaluable services chaplains provide to fire departments and the communities they serve.

Acting Governor Scutari emphasized the importance of chaplains, stating, “They support the brave individuals who risk their lives for the safety of our residents. This legislation ensures that local governments can appoint fire chaplains that align with their specific needs without incurring unnecessary costs.”

Previously, municipalities had the option to compensate fire department chaplains. However, the new bill, championed by State Senators Linda Greenstein (D-Plainsboro) and Shirley Turner (D-Lawrence), along with Assemblymen Dan Benson (D-Hamilton) and Reginald Atkins (D-Roselle), solidifies job security for chaplains. It also grants elected officials the authority to decide on compensation.

Eddie Donnelly, the president of New Jersey’s firefighter union, expressed his gratitude, saying, “Fire Department chaplains are an essential component of our state’s fire service. From supporting our members and their families during challenging times to being the comforting voice at memorial services, the NJ FMBA deeply values our Fire Chaplains.”

The signing of this law comes at a time when Scutari is serving as the acting governor, with Phil Murphy away at a Democratic Governors Association meeting in Colorado. Following the unfortunate passing of Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver on August 1, Scutari stands next in the line of succession until Governor Murphy appoints Oliver’s successor.