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State PBA Calls Out Governor for Veto of Pension Reform

On the heels of repeated downgrades from independent financial ratings agencies, the Governor has vetoed a bill designed to fortify New Jersey pension system. The bill, A3310, would have required any contributions by employees required by Chapter 78, as well as savings from eliminating retiree COLA, remain in the pension system and not be diverted for other purposes. Since 2011 Governor Christie has shifted hundreds of millions in “excess contributions” from the pension system to local municipalities to reduce the pension contributions required by local government.

The diverting of pension payments is a short term ploy that was identified by Standard and Poor as “one-shot budget measurers” that undermine the State’s long term finances. New Jersey State PBA President Patrick Colligan said, “Everything this Governor does is intended to make the pension system fail. He can create all the commissions he wants but his actions speak volumes. This bill would have ensured that the increased payments police officers, firefighters, teachers, and other employees have been making since 2011 stayed in the pension system.  He has taken $300 million of pension funds provided by employees and retirees to strengthen the system and used it to fill gaps in his Budget funding for local government. He can’t tell the public that pension payments are unaffordable and then give away millions that employees and retirees have given to grow the system. The one thing that rings through all this administration does, is the lack of candor and honesty with the public. You can not claim that you want to make sure the pension system is solvent and then veto a bill that would have required you keep contributions in the system. There is no way our pensions can get stronger if he keeps taking our money out of it.”

The State has had eight financial downgrades under Governor Christie. “He can try to divert attention to blaming unions for pension under funding when it is really independent financial rating agencies that are calling him out over his budget gimmicks. He is taking our money, taken from our  paychecks, that was meant to strengthen our pensions. This is Assembly Bill 3310 would have stopped these tricks and created more long term financing for our pensions”, said Colligan

View Official Release Here

We Will Never Forget
Important Links for Upcoming 2014 Convention Services

Attention Conventioneers,

The following links will provide you access to important convention services.

The first is the link to order park tickets, make dinner reservations, and other information one might find helpful for the 2014 Convention.

This second link is for a shopping service that will deliver to our resort.  Please be advised that the PBA does not endorse this service but is providing the link for our members to utilize should you want to. is offering a 10% discount on their shopping service fee.  Please have them reference NJSPBA Convention in the “referred by” field.

NJ State PBA mourns Police Sgt. Charles “Tommy” Adams

The NJ State PBA joins Longport PBA Local 363 in mourning the death of Longport Police Sgt. Charles “Tommy” Adams, who was killed in a motor vehicle accident yesterday.

Tommy was a former PBA Local 363 State Delegate and served as a Vice President on the NJ State PBA Executive Board. Please keep Sgt Adams, his fellow officers and family in your thoughts and prayers.

Important Message from Kevin Lyons About Health Benefits Dental Plan

The State PBA has just learned that the State of New Jersey Department of Community Affairs has directed all municipalities in the State who have accepted Transitional Aid must have their employees switch to the NJ State Health Benefits Dental Plan.
Please take note that according to the Model MOU listed in Local Finance Notice 2014-12, the municipality is instructed to tell the bargaining units that if certain cost containment issues are not adhered to the transitional aid amount may be decreased. This is not a mandate on our collective bargaining units.
The State PBA strongly suggests that members do not take any action until they have spoken to their Local Labor Attorney and have received guidance on the matter.
The PBA will keep you posted as information develops.
To determine if your employer has accepted transitional aid, please go to the link below:
Please review Local Finance Notice 2014-12
And a copy of the Memorandum of Understanding, specifically Page 6 titled “Individual and Collective Negotiation Agreements” as well as attachment J&K.

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NJ Cops Magazine

August 2014 Back Issues
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President's Message

Patrick Colligan, NJSPBA President Patrick Colligan, President "Pension Study Commission"
- Cheat Sheet

Executive Order No. 161 was hand delivered by the governor Aug. 1 on the steps of the Parsippany Municipal building at 1 p.m. In effect, it officially forms the non-partisan “New Jersey Pension and Health Benefit Study Commission,” hereinafter known as the “Study Commission.”

Thirty days after organizing, the commission is required to deliver a status report and will issue a report on its findings and recommendations "as soon as possible."  It is now Friday afternoon at 2:47 p.m. at the State PBA Office in Woodbridge. The office will observe our summer hours and be closing in 13 minutes. I have just officially commissioned myself (with 13 minutes to go) to issue my own findings and recommendations. If the "Study Commission" wants a cheat sheet, here it is:

1. Chapter 78 (a law as defined by the Constitution) was signed on June 11, 2008 by Gov. Christie requiring in very specific terms how he must fund the pension.

FINDINGS: Please advise Gov. Christie to comply with the law that he signed.

2. Chapter 78 required an additional 1½-percent contribution of PFRS employees to the system for a total of 10-percent employee contributions (probably the highest in the nation). It generated another $57 million. In March, the governor gave more than $50 million back to local governments and called it “tax relief”.

FINDINGS: That’s our money. We earned it and it was deducted from our paychecks. Please put it back into the PFRS system.

3. Want to explore a “Hybrid Pension System?” Similar to a 401K, “Hybrid Pensions" have to be paid by the state with each and every paycheck.

FINDINGS:  The state doesn't pay its pension bills now with a signed law in place! Who do we call when the Hybrid payments aren't made every two weeks? Can I tell my members that at least I got a pinkie swear?

4. New Jersey now ranks second in the country for investments in high-risk, highfee hedge funds in their state pension funds. Well-known political donors and high priced "investment advisors" are raking in $1.2 billion in fees and commissions.

FINDINGS: $1.2 billion performs better in our portfolio than in a millionaire’s bank account and those high- risk hedge funds are returning lower yields than traditional investments that don't pad donor’s pockets.

5. In 2005, Acting Governor Richard Codey formed a Benefits Review Task Force to try and resolve the unfunded pension issues. The task force subsequently released a comprehensive document called the Murphy Report. Anybody care to guess what was suggestion No. 1? For the state to start “paying up and ending the gimmicks.” That Murphy strikes me as a pretty smart guy.

FINDINGS: The "Study Commission" should find that Murphy Report, photocopy it and call it the “2014 New Jersey Pension and Health Benefit Study Commission.” Your work was done already in 2005. No need to reinvent the wheel folks.

6. Last month, the governor's office released a "No Pain, No Gain" movie trailer that shamefully mocked every hard-working public employee in the state (the ones that have made every single payment into the pension). That movie trailer wasn't cobbled together in a few minutes on a laptop. It took a lot of time and state resources.

FINDINGS: Somebody has too much free time and lots of extra money in their budget. Immediately transfer them to the New Jersey Economic Development Authority or the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. The last time I looked at the governor's performance numbers, I think those two departments could definitely use the help. The new "Study Commission" could probably use their creativity too.

7. The public pensions throughout the country that are performing the best are truly run by their membership. Investments are made by a committee with their skin in the game. ALL their skin! New Jersey has an Investment Council with very little influence on how and where our investments are made. The director is appointed by the treasurer; the treasurer is nominated by the governor.

FINDINGS: Legislate a change to our Investment Council and give it some teeth. Let US decide who gets OUR money and what kind of risk and fees we want to pay. It should not be in the hands of a person politically connected to a sitting governor - ANY sitting Governor.  The time is now 3:08 p.m. I am now disbanding my commission after 21 minutes of work resolving the New Jersey pension crisis. I really wish I could say that this is in jest and an exaggeration, but unfortunately and sadly it isn't. The work and the research really have been done already. All the answers are well known to everybody. My job right now is to make sure that whoever is sitting at this desk a decade from now will not be dealing with yet another "new" commission from another governor that has to deal with an unfunded pension.  Fool us all Mr. Governor; make a quarterly payment and show us some good faith. Some politicians just break promises. Not making these payments is breaking the law.


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