When Nat King Cole wrote that song he certainly got the last part right. Summer is traditionally a relatively quiet time at the NJ State PBA office. Unfortunately, the summer of 2014 didn't really cooperate. Tragically, we lost two of New Jersey's finest: Jersey City Police Officer Melvin Santiago was murdered in his police car on July 13 by an animal who wanted to be famous. A few short days later we lost Waldwick Police Officer Christopher Goodell during the performance of his duties while most of the residents of Waldwick slept safely and comfortably in their homes. We also had a host of very serious crashes involving police officers all across the state. I wish them all a fast and healthy recovery.
The dirt on Santiago and Goodell's graves hadn’t even settled when we were graced with the governor's “No Pain, No Gain" disgraceful tour of self-promotion. “Part 1” was on the very afternoon we buried Officer Goodell. I guess “No Pain, No Gain” is a lot catchier than “I Don’t Have a Damn Plan, I Want The System To Fail and I’ll Add This To My Long List Of Things I've Screwed Up” Tour. The 2014 “No Pain, No Gain” tour can best be described as a cross between the old "Where's the Beef?” commercials from Wendy's and the Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day. A whole lot of nothing replayed throughout the state over and over and over and over and over again……all summer long.
And now we have the gift called “The Commission.” We all know the details by now; a completely independent group of non-partisan individuals tasked by our governor to solve all of our pension woes. Yawn. Does anybody think they should probably have included a few people actually IN the system? Should I sit in my office waiting for their call so they can hear our ideas? I just hope it will cost less than the $9 million (and still climbing) “completely independent” Bridgegate investigation our governor ordered from his old friends at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. Call me a cynic, but I suspect the results will have a familiar ring to them. No crystal ball will be needed for those results!
And finally, as promised Rob Nixon, Marc and I have been traversing the state, meeting and greeting our legislators - Senate and Assembly, Republican and Democrat. Every one of these meetings has been very positive. We will discuss them at length at the convention. We have been to some Local meetings and a few County Conference meetings. We’ve met with the leadership from many other public unions and we had an extensive meeting with the leadership of the NJ Police Chief's Association.
We said we were going to hit the ground running, and we certainly have. During the past two months I've seen parts of the state that I never saw before. We still have a lot on our schedule for the next few months and we are looking forward to many more meetings with our legislators. I'm expecting Trenton to throw us a few surprises and we are looking forward to the challenge. Please be safe and buckle up; we've had way too many close calls this summer!