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Judge Rejects EMT Layoffs

HACKENSACK, N.J. -- A Superior Court judge on Friday ruled the city plan to privatize daytime ambulance service was invalid because it was not put out for competitive bid.

The ruling by Superior Court Judge MenealosW. Toskos came just three days before the city was due to transfer its daytime emergency medical service to Hackensack University Medical Center, putting eight city EMTs out of work. An official with Local 2081 of the International Association of Firefighters said Friday night that city officials told the EMTs not to report for their shifts today or Sunday, despite the fact that HUMC was not due to take over ambulance service until Monday.

Instead, the city indicated that it would declare an emergency, allowing HUMC to assume responsibility for the ambulance service immediately, the union representative, Roberto Burgos, said.

The union still plans to appeal the layoff plan to the state Department of Personnel, Burgos said.

"This is an outrage," Local 2081 President John Liquinto said in a statement. City officials, he said, "have repeatedly ignored vehement opposition by residents to this EMS plan. Now they are brazenly defying a court order."

City officials could not be reached Friday night.

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