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Gov. Phil Murphy. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Furloughed DOT employees ordered to show up for storm

Employees threatened with disciplinary action if they stay home

By Nikita Biryukov, July 10 2020 3:35 pm

Furloughed Department of Transportation employees were called into work to respond to Tropical Storm Fay under the threat of disciplinary action Friday.

“In order to put ourselves into a readiness posture for possible Tropical Storm Fay (forming tonight), we are going to cancel furloughs for tomorrow (Friday, 7/10/2020) for nearly all of our field crews,” Assistant Transportation Commissioner Andrew Tunnard said in an email to workers.

Department supervisors were ordered to call their employees at least twice and keep a record of those calls.

They were given a script to read to employees that included a threat of discipline.

“For operation purposes, the New Jersey Department of Transportation is canceling your furlough status for Friday, July 10. You are expected to report to your crew on Friday at your normal start time,” it read. “If you fail to report on time, you may be subject to disciplinary action.”

It’s not clear how many department employees left the state while furloughed.

Pulling back the furlough may make some workers ineligible for unemployment benefits the furloughs were designed to capitalize on.

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