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New Jersey State PBA President Patrick Colligan Responds to Governor’s Call for Independent Pension Study Commission

The Governor announced today that he is forming a “non-partisan” independent study commission to analyze the pension system and to make further recommendations for pension cuts.  The group, whose membership was not announced, will be tasked with looking at pension and health benefit management in other States and in the private sector.  It is likely that this group will be handpicked to provide an “outsider” stamp for the Governor’s recent demand that further benefit cuts are necessary.

PBA members will remember that in 2004 then Governor Codey appointed an independent study commission known as the “Murphy Commission” who, in addition to calling for some pension changes, found that the single most important factor in strengthening the pension fund is for government to make 100% of its payments.  Ten years later, and billions lost in government contributions and investment gains from it, and the same failure to make a full pension payments remains the greatest obstacle for the growth of the pension fund.

The State PBA will be carefully monitoring the situation and will be prepared to challenge the “expert” commission’s findings and we are prepared to utilize the results and advice from our own actuary study due out in August.  What is certain is that PFRS remains a healthy, economically sound pension fund and there is little need to further erode benefits for New Jersey’s law enforcement community.


Special thanks to Brother Shouldis, Seaside Heights #252 & OCC!

The next time you see the very humble Brother Kevin Shouldis, shake his hand and pat him on the back on behalf of our Wounded Warriors. JOB WELL DONE to Kevin and his entire family, Seaside Heights Local 252, the Ocean County Conference and everybody else that had a hand putting the Wounded Warriors weekend together. Well over 40 Wounded Warriors and their families were treated to an event-filled weekend in Seaside Heights. It gets bigger and better every year. I was humbled and honored to meet the Warriors and help Kevin give them their certificates Saturday night. It’s easy to put a “Support our Troops” magnet on your car, but Kevin and his crew really show us how to honor those who truly sacrificed to keep us safe here at home. Spectacular job to everybody who helped out this past weekend and a very special THANK YOU to the Wounded Warriors and all of our troops for your service and sacrifice.

Pension Update from State President Colligan

I wanted to share some good news about our pensions. The State Investment Council met this week and disclosed that our pension investments are earning double what managers expected. Four years ago the pension fund balance was  $66 billion. In the last four years it has grown by $35 billion despite the State failing to pay its obligation. This increase took place while a record numbers of officers retired. Experts told the investment council that if the current rate of return on investments continued, we would have no pension debt at all.

While the Investment Council’s report is good news it just highlights our arguments about the current political debate about pensions. The Governor missed a golden opportunity to strengthen our pension even further by simply paying the State’s obligation. The pension problem exists because politicians have repeatedly failed to pay into the pensions. The Governor can spin all he wants but this report highlights his failures.

The report should reassure our members that our pensions are generating a good return. Our pensions are on solid ground. This report will not make the Governor restore COLA or stop his latest campaign against law enforcement officers. It will make people take note that employee contributions have kept the system afloat even when the State failed to meet its obligations. 



“Remembering Lauren Rousseau”

State President Colligan thanks attendees
I wanted to thank all the members who turned out yesterday in Long Beach Island. While some in the media categorized our gathering as a protest, those who were there know that is far from the truth. We stood in solidarity with firefighters, teachers and other concerned public employees and residents in remembrance of Sandy Hook Elementary School teacher Lauren Rousseau who the park was built for. It seems callous that the Governor would kick off his campaign to call for public workers to make more sacrifice at a park dedicated to a teacher who made the ultimate sacrifice.

The Governor and his staff may have been looking to create a YouTube moment, hoping cops would be yelling and shouting him down as he spoke, but they did not get it. The officers who were present at the park exemplified the best of who we are with their conduct and presence. The silence of the more than 200 members present was louder than anything the Governor said.
There will be a time and place to protest the Governor and what he is doing. Yesterday was a day to make sure the memory of Lauren Rousseau was not forgotten. I thank all the officers who made sure the media and public remembered this location not for a town hall meeting, but for an outstanding teacher who lost her life doing what she loved.

In Remembrance of Union County Sheriff Ralph Froehlich
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NJ Cops Magazine

July 2014 Back Issues

President's Message

Patrick Colligan, NJSPBA President Patrick Colligan, President You have our commitment. Marc and I need yours.

On a recent Friday afternoon, I shut off the lights in my office and headed home for the weekend. I had been the Pension Coordinator for almost a year. It was a great opportunity to help our members with the next daunting step in their careers. The position was personally rewarding and an amazing learning experience. I am still grateful for the opportunity that Tony and Keith gave me one year ago. But on the very next Sunday afternoon, I received the news that you all know by now and that took me completely by surprise; effective July 1, 2014, I would be the next President of the New Jersey State Policemen's Benevolent Association.

I would be remiss if I didn’t thank Tony and Keith for seven years of incredibly dedicated service to our organization. When you hear the phrase “Blood, Sweat and Tears,” it personifies their work here on our behalf. Whether you agreed or disagreed with how they did it, they did it with a passion and dedication that will be hard to duplicate. Nothing has come easy to any labor organization these past five years, but they never once gave up or felt that they weren’t doing the right thing for every single one of you. I have had the privilege to work closely with them during the years, and they are two men who can look proudly in the mirror every day and know they gave their very best. I was proud to work with them and serve on their Executive Board. I am truly honored that they gave me the opportunity to lead this organization into the next phase. I am even prouder to call them my friends.

Our great friend in labor, past FMBA President Bill Lavin proudly proclaimed on more than one occasion: “We don’t owe an apology to anybody for what we make.” I believe in that phrase so much that I hope one day it will be attributed to me! With few exceptions, we were here before our Local, County and State officials were elected and we will be here long after they are gone. Sometimes we benefit from the decisions they make, but more often than not we are left reeling in their wake wondering what the hell they were thinking. Despite the good or the bad, we continue to provide safety and outstanding service to the residents of this state. Our profession has come a long way in the past 30 or 40 years. We are more professional, better trained and much better educated. We are saddled with regulations, mandates and guidelines that were unheard of a few decades ago. We are doing much more with much less and many of us with a lot less people to do it. The last time I looked we are still doing it on weekends, holidays, midnights, anniversaries and birthdays. Sadly, in the past four-anda- half years we have been doing it with a knife at our throats not knowing what's next.  Sick time? Benefits? Hybrid Pensions? I hear all of you every single day and at every single seminar I presented during the past year. The day I need to apologize for a competitive salary, comprehensive benefits or a sound pension is the day that I will resign from this presidency. An apology for defending you and what you earn every day on every shift will never come out of my mouth.

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