Association of Fire Fighters State Association
on the Front Line Protecting "New Jersey's Bravest"-- --Established 1929--
of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO
to the home page of the Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey, proudly
representing the interests and concerns of New Jersey's Bravest and their loved
encourage our membership to periodically, if not several times daily, review the
contents of this web site and it's various departments, in order to remain up
to date and conversant on the issues facing our profession in the 21st century.
In the event you need more specific or additional information,
we further encourage you to submit your inquiry or commentary via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will endeavor to provide any needed information or address any concern in a
Make Your Voice Heard:
What's New at the PFANJ:
The 2016 Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) application period is currently open and will close on February 10, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. EST. There is $345 million available in federal grants to add fire fighters to departments in need. Career, combination and volunteer fire departments are eligible to apply. The IAFF Grants Department has developed SAFER guidance documents to assist you in completing the application. Our website also has a copy of the SAFER application (for those who do not have access to the grant portal), the SAFER webinar slides, sample narratives and other assistance tools for our affiliates. In addition, the FEMA website also has a number of helpful documents, including the SAFER application checklist and a self-evaluation guide. There are some key program changes this year that you should be aware of, so please visit the FEMA website. Some of the changes include:
Grant funds can only be used to hire at the entry-level fire fighter base pay rate, and cannot be used to fund existing employees. The positions you are requesting must have been laid off or vacated prior to grant award.
Applications resulting in the largest percentage increases in compliance with NFPA 1710 or 1720 receive higher consideration (NFPA 1710 or NFPA 1720 Unit Staffing and Assembly Requirements).
Position Cost Limit (No Waiver Available):
Year 1 and 2 – 75% annual cost of fire year FF
Year 3 – 35% annual cost of fire year FF
Waivers are available for:
Supplanting – Grant funds may not be used to supplant funds that would otherwise be available from state or local sources, or the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Cost Share – Local jurisdiction is required to provide 25% of funding in years 1 and 2, and 65% in year 3.
Minimum budget – At the time of application, the applicant’s budget for fire-related programs and emergency response must not be below 80 percent of the applicant’s average funding level in the 3 years prior to November 24, 2003.
No lay‐offs permitted during period of performance.
No obligation to retain the SAFER‐funded positions beyond 3 year Period of Performance.
IAFF staff are available to assist you as in completing the application, and to review your grant packages before you submit. Contact Ron Benedict at (202) 824-1575 or email@example.com for assistance.
The PFANJ & IAFF release video that takes in-depth look at the proposed legislation allowing the "Unions" to take over the New Jersey Police and Fireman's Retirement System (PFRS).
SPEAKER PRIETO'S BILL TO REQUIRE THE STATE MAKE QUARTERLY
PAYMENTS INTO THE PENSION SYSTEM
SIGNED INTO LAW
(TRENTON) – Legislation New Jersey Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto sponsored to require the state to make required contributions to the state-administered retirement systems each fiscal year on a quarterly basis has been signed into law.
The Assembly passed similar bills in 2014 and 2015 and also approved a constitutional amendment in 2016 that would have required quarterly pension fund payments, but the Senate did not post it.
"The Assembly has long supported this concept, including sending it to the voters this year for consideration," said Prieto (D-Hudson / Bergen). "New Jersey's public servants who have done their part deserve better than repeated broken promises, but this law will at least represent progress toward a more fiscally responsible approach. Having the state wait until the end of the fiscal year to make one payment is an invitation to skip it, so this will be a common sense improvement."
Speaker Prieto noted quarterly payments could mean increased returns in the pension system from investing a portion of the payment earlier in the fiscal year.
"The intent is to ensure the state makes regular payments into the pension system and help ensure the pension payment is not used as the sole budget solution when revenue falls short of projections in future years," Prieto said.
The new law (S2810 / A4) requires the state to make its required contributions to the state-administered defined benefit retirement systems each state fiscal year on a quarterly basis on the following schedule:
* At least 25 percent by Sept. 30;
* At least 50 percent by Dec. 31;
* At least 75 percent by March 31, and;
* At least 100 percent by June 30.
The state-administered defined benefit retirement systems are the Teachers' Pension and Annuity Fund, the Judicial Retirement System, the Prison Officers' Pension Fund, the Public Employees' Retirement System, the Consolidated Police and Firemen's Pension Fund, the Police and Firemen's Retirement System and the State Police Retirement System.
The quarterly payment requirement will commence in the state fiscal year that starts next July 1.
The defined-benefit pension is the single most important benefit a fire fighter and police officer have
CONGRESSMAN BILL PASCRELL, JR.
2016 CFSI LEGISLATOR OF THE YEAR
The Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI) is proud to announce that Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-9) has been selected as the 2016 CFSI Legislator of the Year.
Throughout his distinguished career in Congress, Congressman Pascrell has been a leading advocate for the nation's fire and emergency services. The current chairman of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, Congressman Pascrell has been a staunch advocate for a number of federal fire service programs, including the Assistance to Firefighters (FIRE) and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant programs, as well as the United States Fire Administration (USFA). Recently, Congressman Pascrell introduced H.R. 5123, the Honoring Emergency Response Officers Benefits Reform Act. The legislation is intended to improve the timeliness and transparency of Public Safety Officers' Benefits (PSOB) program's death, disability and education claims.
"Throughout his congressional career, Congressman Pascrell has demonstrated an incredible commitment and dedication to our nation's fire and emergency services," said Bill Webb, CFSI's Executive Director. "It has been an honor and pleasure to work closely with the Congressman for many years to advance the cause of America's fire and emergency services on Capitol Hill. CFSI is honored to present him our Legislator of the Year Award"
"It fills me with pride to stand up for the brave firefighters who protect our families and our communities," said Congressman Pascrell. "I am honored to receive the 2016 CFSI Legislator of the Year Award and will continue to fight for the first responders on the front lines who make our communities safer. Going forward, I will continue to prioritize an agenda to better train, equip, and staff firehouses across the country."
SAVE THE DATE - JANUARY 25, 2017
EXCLUSIVE TRAINING OPPORTUNITY
Presented live on Wednesday, January 25, your entire shift can watch these webcasts from the firehouse or union hall. Each webcast is two hours.
11:00 a.m. Eastern Time (8:00 a.m. Pacific Time) TOPIC: Active Shooter Incidents: Response and Lessons Learned
With the rise in the number of active shooter incidents, coordination between local fire departments and law enforcement agencies is more important than ever for planning, training and practicing for these events. This workshop includes lessons learned from previous active shooter events and current examples of response protocols, on-scene deployment and training programs.
Katherine Schweit, FBI Special Agent
John Delaney, Arlington County Fire Department
Roderick Williams, Orlando, FL Local 1365
Nick Starling, San Bernardino, CA Local 935
Lori Moore-Merrell, IAFF Assistant to the General President
1:30 p.m. Eastern Time (10:30 a.m. Pacific TIme) TOPIC: Addressing PTSD Through a Peer Support Program As post-traumatic stress becomes more widely recognized in the fire service, questions and requests for peer support services have increased. The IAFF Peer Support Training program is designed to teach essential skills for addressing the behavioral health needs of members. This workshop provides an overview of successful peer support programs, essential skills for peer support and resources for responding to members with behavioral health concerns, including the new IAFF Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health Treatment and Recovery.
Angelo Sacco, Peer Support Trainer, UFOA Local 854
Kerry Ramella, Peer Support Trainer, Phoenix, AZ Local 493
Dr. Craig L. Katz, MD, Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Mount Sinai School of Medicine
Elaine Viccora, Behavioral Health Specialist, IAFF
The IAFF, along with the International Association of Fire Chiefs, Metropolitan Fire Chiefs, the Congressional Fire Services Institute and the International Fire Service Training Association, have updated and released the 3rd Edition of the Fire-Based EMS Toolkit.
Updates to the online toolkit include up-to-date information on Fire-Based Community Healthcare Providers (FBCHP) - or “communityparamedicine” - and a new section on responding to violence, including resources for active shooter response.
Once Again, Governor VETO's First Responders Protection Act
To All PFANJ Members,
For the second time, Governor Christie vetoed legislation that would have protected all first responders, paid or volunteer and their families!
Governor Christie’s callous action against first responders and their families is revolting. Without any real documentation to justify his veto, Christie is putting his political needs ahead of the needs of the workers who make New Jersey the great state it is. We are outraged that after working with the legislature to bring forth a good solid bill that addressed Christie’s concerns the first time he vetoed our bill, he still vetoed it.
Apparently nothing is going to satisfy Christie. He is not leading New Jersey, he is burying New Jersey.
This second veto proves that our current Governor continues to disrespect you and your families.
We will not stop, we will continue to fight for this legislation and other legislation that will benefit you and your families.
Stay strong, Stay the course!
State Health Benefits Program Information (SHBP)
For those Departments that are in the State Health Benefits Program:
We have been advised that open enrollment has been extended to November 11 for changes in plan options for the State Health Benefit Plan.
Links to the NJ Division of Pensions and Benefits Health Benefits Handbooks may be found here
In the NJ Direct Handbook those preventative services which are mandated by the National Health Reform to be covered without co-payment are listed on pages 76, 77, and 81.
NJ State Health Benefits Mobile Phone Applications Aetna, CIGNA, and Horizon have developed applications for the iPhone, smartphones, and other web-enabled mobile devices to provide State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) members with plan information "on the go."
Medco Health Solutions, Inc. has also developed the Medco Pharmacy mobile app for its Prescription Plan, now available at no cost on BlackBerry® and Android™ smartphones using the Verizon Wireless network.
CHAPTER 330 RETIREES
New program for those in the SHBP & SEHBP - Direct Primary Care is Here! R-Health Up and Running Now
Direct Primary Care-- We Need Your Help to Build It Direct Primary Care is here.
One provider of Direct Primary Care services, R-Health, signed a contract with Horizon earlier this month and has been signing up members for two weeks.
A second firm, Paladena Health, is expected to sign a contract with Horizon within weeks and will be opening doctor's offices by the Spring. Paladena will operate in North Jersey and Mercer County.
For now, R-Health has three locations - Haddonfield, Moorestown, and Washington Crossing. A brand new site, Ewing, will open in January.
R-Health's information piece and update may be foundHERE.
A quick reminder, Direct Primary Care Medical Homes feature no co-pays, same day/next day appointments, 24/7 access to your doctor, and simply a lot more and better care.
Direct Primary Care is an union initiative for our members. Only we can make it succeed by informing and motivating our members.
NEW PFANJ CUSTOM DECALS AVAILABLE NOW DECAL IS APPROXIMATELY 4” SQUARE (See Sample Below)
Sample New PFANJ Custom Decal
All requests for these CUSTOM Decals MUST come from the
President of the Local.
To Place Orders, Local Presidents should contact the PFANJ Office via email at:
Be sure to include specifics, including name and local number,
total decals requested, and how your local name should be displayed.
All orders MUST be prepaid.
Important Information on Supreme Court Health Care Decision
As many of you are aware, recently the Supreme Court handed down another landmark decision addressing the president’s controversial health care law known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In the case of King v. Burwell, the court was charged with determining if individuals purchasing health care through the federal exchange were permitted to receive tax subsidies. Since the court’s ruling, we have received numerous questions regarding the impact of the ruling on our members and their health plans. Generally speaking, there is no immediate effect on IAFF members or their plans. To help our IAFF members to better understand the ruling, we have prepared the following supplemental materials:
Regardless how the Supreme Court ruled, we have a major concern over the portion of the ACA which imposes a 40 percent excise tax on high-cost health plans beginning in 2018. The IAFF has taken a leading role in a coalition of labor and corporate interests in trying to repeal the excise tax. Current legislation (H.R. 2050) to repeal the tax has been introduced by Representative Joe Courtney (D-CT), a bipartisan bill with more than115 co-sponsors. We will continue our fight to repeal this provision of the ACA and work to ensure that the benefits our members and their families enjoy will not be diminished. I hope the information proves helpful. As always, I appreciate your hard work and leadership.
Feb 3, 2015 - It’s the loophole through which New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has been flying on private jets.
Christie’s personal travel habits, detailed in a New York Times article include a preference for Cessna Citation X flights, Four Seasons stays and champagne toasts, are all legally consistent with his state’s code of conduct for governors – as long as everything is paid for by friends.
“The governor may accept gifts, favors, services, gratuities, meals, lodging or travel expenses from relatives or personal friends that are paid for with personal funds,” the code reads.
Lately, those friends include King Abdullah of Jordan, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Republican superdonor Sheldon Adelson – all with big pockets and big toys, like the private jet Adelson had him fly with his family on during a 2012 trip to Israel, at the same time Adelson was trying to defeat a measure to legalize online gambling in New Jersey (Christie later signed the bill anyway).
Christie also added a provision to the state’s financial disclosure laws in a 2010 executive order that expressly permits him to accept travel and related expenses from foreign governments.
Apparently he wants the public to believe that when it comes to pensions, the buck stops elsewhere.
That’s wrong and he knows it.
It was Christie who in 2011 signed a law dramatically overhauling New Jersey’s public pension system, increasing the out-of-pocket contributions from workers and mandating a seven-year schedule of state payments to get the system back in the black.
Since the 2011 signing, everyone has been doing their part to follow the law, except Christie. He has decided the state simply cannot afford to live up to the terms of the law he signed and has cut $1.6 billion from the state’s obligation of $2.25 billion for the current fiscal year.
At the same time, Christie has found plenty of room in the budget for massive tax breaks for corporations and lining the pockets of the Republican Governors Association. The governor’s misplaced priorities are making the pension problem worse and doing nothing to improve New Jersey’s economy.
But Christie loves a scapegoat and wants the public to think firefighters, police officers and teachers are to blame for the pension problems, while he is the one shortchanging the bill. He wants the public to think these hard-working public employees don’t deserve a secure retirement.
The governor can point fingers all he wants, but it will likely be up to a court to sort through Christie’s smoke-and-mirrors approach to pensions. Three of the state’s largest pension funds are suing Christie and his administration for failing to make the legally required payments to the pensions.
According to Standard and Poor’s, the problem with the pension is not public employees and not the economy. It’s Christie not paying his bill. This from the ratings agency: “The long-term impact of continuation of a funding policy that allows the State to contribute less than the actuarially recommended contribution could impact, at some point, the Pension Plans’ ability to meet their obligations absent significant additional contributions by the State, increased investment returns, or actions or events resulting in reductions to liabilities of the Pension Plans.”
Firefighters and other public employees have been protesting the lack of required pension payments by the state for years. But we have always been told that the system was well managed and the strength of the markets would make up the difference. And, when dire predictions and alarms were issued by, among others, former State Treasurer Richard Leone in 1995, they too were dismissed.
Then in 1996 the Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey, New Jersey Fraternal Order of Police and other public worker organizations filed a lawsuit on behalf of our workers concerning the default of pension payments required by the State and local municipalities. That lawsuit took many years to work its way through the court system, after many delays by the State of New Jersey. Finally the court ruled that although the proper pension payments were not being made, because no worker was yet denied a pension, there was no actual harm. The lawsuit was thus dismissed.
Currently, two of the three required contributors to the pension funds are fulfilling their obligations. Local governments have made their full required contributions, more than $1.4 billion according to the recent State bond filing. In fact, they’ve contributed twice as much as the state even though New Jersey owes more than twice as much as the local governments.
And of course, we fire fighters, police officers, and other state workers are contributing 100 percent of what we are required to. This is all that’s holding the pension system stable. That and the exponential increase of management fees also passed on to worker. The system boasts a net gain on the investments over the first 10 months of 2014 of 6.88 percent, right on target.
Clearly, if New Jersey had paid its full payments into its police and fire pension fund, instead of constantly skipping payments, the fund would be in substantially better shape. It should be obvious by now to everyone that Governor Christie is not interested in fixing the pension funding.
Any future schemes that include cutting benefits for firefighters and police officers are irresponsible. Firefighters and police officers are not eligible for Social Security Benefits; our pensions are all we have to retire on. Continually pointing fingers at firefighters and police officers and attempting to bully them will not solve the problems.
It is time for Christie to stop passing the buck and start paying his pension bill.
Dominick Marino is President of the Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey.
IAFF Calls Out Looters Of Public Pensions
Across America, state budgets are being balanced on the backs of current and former public employees by breaking commitments to fund their defined-benefit retirement plans. Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) is the latest to go this route, recently warning his state’s fire fighters, police officers, teachers and other public employees that he’ll propose skipping a couple (more) yearly installments against the state’s pension liability due to an unexpected revenue shortfall.
Available for Download HERE for Apple and iPad Devices
The Truth About Arbitration
Many politicians, local and state, want everyone to believe that binding arbitration is the reason local property taxes are high, when this simply is not true. Not daunted by the truth, the Governor and his allies are pushing for changes to binding arbitration that will reduce public safety, that will end innovative and cooperative approaches and will not save money nor preserve public safety and it certainly will not reduce your property taxes.
The truth is that arbitration is rarely used in the firefighter world as approximately 10% of the firefighter contracts over the last five years have been arbitrated and not negotiated. The truth is that binding arbitration exists because firefighters are not permitted by law to strike. When management and the bargaining group cannot agree on a contract, they must resort to binding arbitration, which is expensive for both management and labor. If these changes were instituted, more contracts would end in arbitration. This would increase the cost to local taxpayers not decrease it.
The push for these changes is a way to change the subject when the unpleasant truth is that the Governor is balancing the State’s budget on the backs of local property taxpayers by reducing aid to municipalities and school districts by more than $1.2 billion dollars in the current budget year. These cuts, and not arbitration, will raise your taxes and reduce your safety and quality of life.
Grant Applicants: Get Bid Specifications Ready Early
Review your grant application's requirements and get your bid specifications ready now. If you receive an award, this early preparation will help you to implement your grant as soon as possible and help ensure you are able to complete your project within the period of performance.
Start to draft a bid solicitation that encourages competition by not using proprietary vendor specifications. By avoiding the use of proprietary vendor specifications, you encourage competition, which may decrease your overall costs. For example, you can request bids for a new pumper and specify that it have an "independent front suspension." But specifying that the pumper have a particular name-brand independent front suspension would be a proprietary specification that would limit competition to those vendors that build trucks containing those particular items.
Avoid any real or apparent conflicts of interest in your procurements. Remember that no employee, officer, or agent of your organization, who has a real or even apparent conflict of interest (potential for personal gain), may participate in the selection of the contractor or vendor that will supply the grant-funded items or services. They cannot accept gifts, favors, or anything of monetary value from potential contractors.
Maintain written procurement procedures. Become familiar with and keep on file the written procurement procedures and standards for your organization. If you are unsure, check with your local or state government for procedures. All grantees must have procurement procedures that follow local or state procurement procedures AND meet Federal procurement law as outlined in 44 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 13.36.
Have a record system set up for the grant. Make sure that you have system established that will maintain your grant records accurately and securely while still being accessible. All Federal awards are subject to a possible audit or desk review.
The law is widely viewed as the most historic overhaul of the U.S. health care system since the inception of Medicare and Medicaid.
While the law’s primary goal is to increase the number of insured Americans, there are other provisions within the law that also have implications for IAFF members.
In order to help IAFF members better understand the law the IAFF has developed a What You Need to Know About the Affordable Care Act online resource of information, including an overview of the Affordable Care Act, answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs), an educational video about the ACA, strategies on negotiating health care and links to both government and industry sources such Healthcare.gov, the AFL-CIO and the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Firefighters represented by the Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey strongly disagree with the governor’s agenda and his decisions because they threaten public safety.
The governor failed to take advantage of a federal grant program that would improve public safety and create jobs.
While the governor argues forcefully that he is doing what’s best for New Jersey residents, the reality is that he continues to do what’s best for himself, using his so-called reforms to promote himself on a national stage.
He also is spreading misinformation.
In his speech last week, the governor took credit for the improved funding level of the Police and Firemen Retirement System in New Jersey. But the reason the PFRS pension fund is doing better is because local municipalities are finally meeting their financial obligations and paying what they are required to pay into the system – just as the firefighters in this state have always done.
He also inferred that when the state pension funds reach 80 percent a state-established board of government officials and firefighters can vote to raise annual cost of living adjustments to pensions. While that’s technically possible – and would be a welcome change – it has not happened, and benefits won’t increase until harsh restrictions on the state board are loosened.
The governor shouldn't take credit for something he didn't’t do, but that hasn't’t stopped him in the past. Once again, the governor’s statements need careful fact-checking. Once again, his credibility has been damaged because he has climbed atop his bully pulpit to spread falsehoods.
He is not our state’s savior. He is merely a politician angling for his next job in public office – and he has a public employee pension, too.
Rather than constantly oppose public employees or hammer away at our rights and benefits, the governor should sit down with us to discuss public safety and the wages, rights and benefits of those sworn to protect communities throughout our state. But to this day the governor still has not met with the Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey.
And that’s no lie.
NJTV Interview with PFANJ President Marino -
October 2, 2012
To All IAFF Local Leaders:
Contact Information for IAFF 1st District Vice
James Slevin: firstname.lastname@example.org
Talking points with respect to S1913 and A3074:
The biggest point is that the legislature should reverse the Richardson Case from 2007. This case changed the criteria for what constitutes an accidental disability thus opening the door for a much easier avenue for members of a pension system to claim a job related disability.
If this were to be repealed, it would go a long way to correcting the issues with the disability pensions.
Other areas of issue:
1. A committee of 26 will not get anything done! Each system already has a board that oversees the system, there is no need to add an additional board.
2. Each system should be responsible for themselves. PERS should not be determining a disability pension for PFRS and likewise.
3. Any reference to Social Security Benefits must be removed, since Firefighters do not pay into social security therefore are not eligible to receive social security benefits.
4. Changing the eligibility years from 4 to 10 for an ordinary disability does a disservice to the firefighter workforce. If a member suffers an injury with prior to completing 10 years and it is not a traumatic injury that member would get no pension. Our profession puts us at harms way every time we go to work. The legislation should not change the number of years.
5. Reducing the disability pension of a firefighter who is no longer able to perform firefighting duties because he or she was able to supplement their income in other ways is disrespectful and unwarranted.
It's a slap in the face to those dedicated firefighters who were injured while serving the public because this legislation would decrease their disability pension if they were to go out and get extra income to provide for their families.
6. The one size fits all about the legislation is wrong. A firefighter or EMS workers level of risk is much greater than a teacher or office worker. The Pension systems must be treated different and separate. If our job functions weren't different, there wouldn't be different systems.
To NJ PERC Constituents, Labor Relations Professionals and Interested
Parties: PERC has modified the Unfair Practice Charge Form, and asks parties to utilize the new form immediately. The changes to the form include hyperlinks, space for a second respondent, and details about the status of negotiations, if any. Additionally, the form seeks more specific information about matters at PERC or other forums that are based upon the same facts alleged in the charge. We hope the new form will expedite
processing of charges.
here for a downloadable and printable IAFF document
and Demonstration of Interest"
for those individuals wishing to learn
and affiliate with the International Association of Fire Fighters...
Kindly fill out the form and then mail it to the
State Association Office