The state Policemen’s Benevolent Association, in protest of the layoff of 60 Atlantic City police officers last year, has pulled its spring convention out of Atlantic City and will hold the event at the Mohegan Sun casino in Uncasville, Conn., March 7-11.
PBA President Tony Wieners said this is the first time the PBA has held the convention outside New Jersey.
“It was a hard decision to pull the convention out of Atlantic City because the members enjoy it there, but we cannot support a city that does not support its police department,” Wieners said.
In October, the PBA announced it was pulling its collective bargaining seminar out of Atlantic City and threatened to cancel its annual spring convention to protest the layoffs.
The collective bargaining seminar will be held next month at Pines Manor in Edison, Middlesex County.
The PBA has called the city home for the combined events for the last 25 years, PBA spokesman Jim Ryan said. The annual events together have attracted more than 2,500 PBA members to Atlantic City.
Ryan said each year the PBA brings about $1 million in revenue to Atlantic City with members spending at hotels, restaurants and bars.
Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority Executive Director Jeff Vasser had no comment.
Mohegan Sun is the second largest casino in the country. The distance from New Jersey has not stopped members from planning to attend, Wieners said.
“Members are registering in record numbers,” he said.
And there isn’t much difference in cost between Mohegan Sun and Atlantic City, he said.
The price per PBA member is $375 per person based on a double occupancy rate. The price includes: three buffet breakfasts, two-hour cocktail reception, complimentary parking, use of fitness center, use of pool, internet access and free play coupons.
“I’m not excited about moving it out of Atlantic City and going up there, but Atlantic City needs to get serious about public safety,” he said.
“When Atlantic City starts to care about public safety we’ll come back,” Wieners said.
Although the city reinstated 17 of the 60 laid-off officers last month, Wieners said the police officers’ safety and that of the public is being compromised because of a reduction in the force.
The 17 officers were reinstated by agreeing to concessions between the PBA and city administration that require each of the city’s 300 officers to forfeit $410 to compensate for a single month of salaries and benefits.
“I’ve tried to talk to Mayor (Lorenzo) Langford about the layoffs and my concerns about public safety but he won’t discuss it,” Wieners said.
Langford did not return calls seeking comment.
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