Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo (D-Atlantic) introduced legislation Thursday that would block layoffs for Atlantic City public safety employees unless the state offers early retirement incentives.

The legislation would amend the law signed last year designed to pull Atlantic City out of a financial free fall. It would require that any municipality in need of stabilization can't lay off public safety employees without offering, in writing, an early retirement incentive.

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The officials charged with leading the state takeover have called for large layoffs in both the city's fire and police departments. The moves would reduce the city fire department to 125 firefighters and the city police department to 225 officers.

The public safety unions have argued in court proceedings that the moves would potentially cause serious harm to the city and that they have been willing to come to the table to make other cuts the state has requested.

“We can’t throw away the positive strides made in Atlantic City by jeopardizing public safety," Mazze said in a statement. "Any additional restructuring can happen through Early Retirement Incentives which is why I made sure ERI's are the cornerstone of this intervention legislation."

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