Can Camden, New Jersey get any more dangerous?

That’s a question that city fire fighters don’t want to answer.

Camden fire fighters and members of the City Council are in a tug of war over salaries and benefits.

Mayor Dana Redd says she must close a $26.5 million budget gap and needs for fire fighters to concede some of their benefits. The alternative is ugly and a bitter pill for the oldest paid fire department in New Jersey to swallow.

In December, layoff notices were sent to 67 fire fighters. The city now has 220 fire fighter positions. If the city and fire unions can’t come together on an agreement,  the fire department could lose or demote 15 deputy fire chiefs, four battalion chiefs, 15 fire captains and 44 fire fighters.

The two sides have until January 18 to come to an agreement before the layoffs are implemented.

It’s no secret that public employees in New Jersey are under fire and Camden – like cities throughout the country – has been hit hard economically in recent years. But are some cities using the recession as leverage to force concessions?

Has your local been asked to take reductions or freezes in compensation or benefits to prevent layoffs? Crew size reduction? Station closure? Brownouts?

If your local chose to take such reductions, did you place a time limit on them?