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News

Statement of New Jersey State PBA President Patrick Colligan on State Supreme Court Decision With Regard to Pension Cost of Living Increases

(Woodbridge, NJ - June 9, 2016)- Today the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that Governor Chris Christie was within his authority to take away cost of living adjustments from retirees.   The pension adjustments based on inflation, commonly known as COLA, were stripped away from retirees by Governor Christie in 2011.

“NJSPBA members agree that state government needs to be concerned with fiscal responsibility, especially when dealing with unfunded pension liabilities.  But the reality is that retired law enforcement officers and fire fighters held up their end of the pension agreement.  These former officers didn’t skip pension contributions, while the state continues to skip or underfund their responsibility.  An actuarial analysis of PFRS found that the state’s actual contributions to PFRS have averaged only 60% of what the state was required to pay since 1998.
 
“New Jersey’s pension system is not one monolithic fund that is losing money daily.  In fact, the State manages five pension plans for State and local employees.  Of those five, the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System (PFRS) is financed mainly by local governments, law enforcement officers and firefighters who have been making their required pension payments.  The current funded level of the local portion of PFRS is near 80% and far ahead of the other pension systems.
 
“The NJSPBA believes that an honest discussion on pension funding and the health of the State’s pension system will show the pension system that police officers and fire fighters rely on for their retirement, PFRS, is financially stable and positioned to succeed if required payments are made moving forward.
 
Retired law enforcement officers were stripped of annual cost of living increases by Governor Christie in 2011.  These retired officers are living on fixed incomes and approximately 80% do not receive social security benefits.  The burden caused by the state skipping pension payments should not fall on the backs of our retirees.  We need a full-time governor moving forward to deal with the state’s growing problem with regard to unfunded pension liabilities.”

PBA Priorities Moving in Trenton

Three important legislative priorities for the State PBA were advanced in Trenton over the last few weeks continuing a string of successful lobbying on the issues that matter to active and retired PBA members:
 
Senate Bill 879: The legislation  would prohibit a law enforcement agency from terminating an officer for “fitness for duty” who sustained a career ending injury while they are awaiting their disability pension and using sick leave.  The bill was unanimously approved by the State Senate and is awaiting consideration by the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.
 
Senate Bill 790: The bill creates a “GAP training” program for corrections officers to become sheriff officers in certain counties.  The bill, originating from the State PBA, was unanimously released by the Senate Budget Committee, and is awaiting final passage.
 
Assembly Bill 2690: The bill updates the law governing the carrying of firearms by retired law enforcement officers by clarifying the list of law enforcement agencies covered by the original State PBA initiated law from 1997.
 

AC Recovery Compromise Reached

The Mayor of Atlantic City, the Governor and legislative leadership today agreed on compromise legislation to provide the city the time and tools it needs to avoid a state takeover.

The new deal will give the City 5 months to develop a plan to balance their budget for 2017 while ensuring State financial assistance. The compromise avoids a state takeover provided the City offers the State with a balanced budget plan in that time.

Following our recent meetings with the Mayor, including a discussion with him this afternoon, the State PBA is comfortable that the City can develop a balanced budget under the conditions set by the new bill language.

The bill also includes an early retirement incentive option for AC employees. This, coupled with ongoing negotiations between the City and PBA 24, should be adequate to further the goals of a balanced budget moving forward at least as it relates to the PD.

The bill is expected to pass the Legislature in the next few days. The PBA will remain a partner to the Mayor moving forward and we are grateful for his passionate defense of the men and women of the AC PD. This compromise also would not have been possible without the insistence of Speaker Prieto that collective bargaining and fairness be protected during this difficult time.

An Important Message from Executive Vice President Marc Kovar

As a result of ongoing negotiations on recovery legislation for Atlantic City there will be NO Assembly session on Wednesday, May 11, 2016. Our discussions with legislative leadership are continuing on a daily basis. We will update the membership as soon as possible on our next steps.

A message from State President Pat Colligan

Thank you to all the PBA members who traveled to Trenton yesterday to fight for our entire NJSPBA membership.  Assembly Speaker Prieto’s decision to delay a vote on the Atlantic City recovery legislation hopefully allows the leaders of our State, the City and the PBA to develop a fair compromise.  Any compromise needs to protect our employee collective bargaining rights and local voting rights while getting Atlantic City back on the path to fiscal recovery. Now is not the time for ego and selfishness.   The next vote on this matter is scheduled for Wednesday, please let as many of our PBA brothers and sisters as possible know that we may need support in Trenton again next Wednesday. Speaker Prieto has opened up the door to a compromised solution and now all the players need to do is just walk through it. 

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President's Message

Patrick Colligan, NJSPBA President Patrick Colligan, President Dear Trenton: a race to the VERY bottom!

To my friends in the NJ State Legislature, let me start this message by saying that my sister used to believe I was so far to the “right,” I didn’t need left shirt sleeves. Tony Wieners used to say those of us in law enforcement were conservatives with Democratic needs. Whether you are right, center or left, I just have to get S-1711 off my chest this month. In case you voted on it and didn’t get a chance to peruse it, please allow me to give you some CliffNotes from the bill:

- Amending or terminating any existing contracts (excluding financing instruments such as bonds);
- Modifying the terms, including wages and hours, or other terms of collective negotiations agreements or terminating any collective negotiations agreements to which the municipality is a party;
- Negotiating, on behalf of the municipality, future collective bargaining agreements;
- Abolishing any positions in the municipality;
- Unilaterally appointing, transferring, or removing employees.

Humor me and please go back and re-read that just one more time; it’s kind of important to those of us who have dedicated our lives to serving the citizens of New Jersey. Allow me to pull the old “Miriam Webster says” for a second. Unilateral means: “Done or undertaken by one person or party.”

Anybody want to hazard a guess who that might be?

Now, forgive me for insulting anybody but that places New Jersey public workers’ rights somewhere below Mississippi and a slight tick above China. I say New Jersey because that bill doesn’t say Atlantic City anywhere in its 22 pages. I checked.

This is a bill for all of New Jersey (granted, with some parameters). I’m not sure how anybody on either side of the aisle doesn’t read that and have the bejesus scared out of them. It really is a race to the very bottom. I hope that those of you who voted for it get another bite at the apple. I suspect you will.… Read More

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