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
Funeral: Thursday, April 27, 2017 - 11:00AM St. Martin of Tours
220 Central Avenue
Bethpage, New York 11714
Christie's Plan To Aid Ailing 911 System: Expand The Tax Governor Chris Christie plans to push for an additional $13 million for upgrading the state's archaic 911 system by expanding the tax that state residents have already paid $1.37 billion into over the last decade, NJ Advance Media has learned.
The Department of Treasury said the additional funding, outlined in an appendix to Christie's budget proposal, will be bankrolled by an as-of-yet introduced bill that aims apply a fee to all prepaid phones purchased in New Jersey.
The state already collects more than $120 million a year for the 911 Emergency Response Fee, funded by a 90-cent monthly fee on all phone lines in the Garden State. In October, an NJ Advance Media investigation found that though the dedicated fund was created in 2004 to upgrade the 911 system, only 11 percent of the money collected has actually gone toward the crucial emergency network during the last several years.
Atlantic City has come out the winner in its battle to break collectively bargained contracts with its firefighters.
A New Jersey Appellate Division judge ruled that the state can move ahead with plans to radically reduce firefighter salaries and benefits and force them to work longer hours — over the objections of the firefighters union.
The reductions could start immediately — but the state’s plan to lay off 100 smoke-eaters is on hold pending further review, the ruling said.
The state-imposed compensation cuts mean firefighter salaries will be reduced by roughly 25%.
It will save cash-strapped Atlantic City $14 million this year, officials said.
The contractual changes also mean higher health co-pays for the firefighters, according to International Association of Fire Fighters Local 198.
Atlantic City will will also drop to 125 firefighters from 225 if the state’s push to cut staffing gets upheld by the courts.
Early retirement packages to entice dozens of Atlantic City police officers and firefighters to leave their jobs would cost at least $23 million – a price tag that, combined with other points of contention, has resulted in confusion over whether the buyouts are still on the table.
Three South Jersey lawmakers recently issued a joint statement calling the buyout options "the best way, the fair way" to right-size the police and fire departments without compromising public safety, according to the Press of Atlantic City.
Yet the attorney representing the Atlantic City state overseer Jeffrey Chiesa in court, Ronald Israel, said the early retirement offers aren't happening: "It's dead." In the meantime, a spokesman for the police union told the newspaper members still had questions for state lawmakers, like whether recent promotions would count towards the buyouts, but the state refused to meet.
When state lawmakers finally agreed on a plan last spring to save the nearly broke city, officials touted early retirement buyouts as a way to cut costs without layoffs.
“A big help is going to be the early retirements, especially for police and fire,” Mayor Don Guardian said in May about a compromise state takeover bill. “I think we’ll have 120 all together.”
But what Guardian hoped would be 120 buyouts could now be 120 layoffs. An Early Retirement Incentives (ERI) program is off the table after a breakdown in negotiations with public safety unions, state officials overseeing the city’s finances recently said.
The state, which took over the city in November, wants to lay off 100 firefighters and 19 police officers to cut costs. The unions have sued to stop the layoffs and cuts to their compensation.
What happened to the buyouts? It depends on who you ask.
Gov. Chris Christie said Monday he is seeking more "reforms" to New Jersey's perpetually troubled public-worker pension system, according to reports -- a development that has caught a number of union leaders by surprise.
In February, Christie unveiled a plan to move state lottery revenue to help pump money into the pension system, the most underfunded among all American states, according to the report. On Monday, the Republican governor told reporters he has been meeting with unions to discuss the lottery idea, according to a report by The Record.
"We're getting their input, as well, and their reactions because we're going to ask them in return also for some reforms to make the system more stable," Christie said, according to the report.
Christie said the reforms will be part of a "package" of bills that could be introduced to the state Legislature next month and be pushed through before the fiscal year ends in June, according to a report by Politico New Jersey. The governor did not detail what the reforms would be, saying only that they are "future-looking."
But the Communication Workers of America, the largest state workers union in New Jersey, said Christie had not discussed any reforms with them.
Hetty Rosenstein, the union's state director said the Christie administration "shared some information with us about the lottery."
"So far, that's all that happened," Rosenstein added. "There was nothing discussed at all about further pension cuts or health-care reform when it comes to the lottery. And no, there won't be a discussion when it comes to that."
Meanwhile, Dominick Marino, president on the Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey, said Christie has not discussed changes with them, either.
"He has chosen to be 'selective' as to who he discusses anything with," Marino told NJ Advance Media.
The IAFF Media Awards Contest recognizes affiliates for their best work in communicating with their members and the public, and honors reporting and photography that best portray professional fire fighters and paramedics as dedicated all-hazards responders.
This race supports The Burn Center at Saint Barnabas Medical Center, New Jersey’s only dedicated burn treatment facility.This state-of-the-art facility is one of the largest in North America, caring for patients of all ages.
Every time a child dies in a fire, it tugs at your heart, says Rick Ennis, the fire chief of Cape Girardeau, Mo. But the story of a little girl in upstate New York disturbed him more than most.
Two-year-old Nora Lamirande was in her crib one Sunday afternoon in 2015 when her mother left for a moment to escort the toddler’s 4-year-old brother home from the neighbor’s. Dad was away at work. So no one heard the smoke alarm when a fast-moving fire broke out in the kitchen.
Neighbors made desperate attempts at rescue. But by the time firefighters arrived, Nora was dead in the upstairs bedroom.
“It was a new house!” Ennis said. It should have had a sprinkler system, which would have saved the little girl, he said.
“That aggravated me.”
So aggravated that Ennis wrote an essay that went viral within the nation’s fire service and has since become a key tool in the national campaign to make fire sprinklers mandatory in all new homes and duplexes built in the United States.
Why, Ennis asked, wasn’t Nora’s home equipped with sprinklers when a national model building code requiring them in new homes and duplexes kicked in two years before it was built?
Ennis, chair of the Missouri Fire Sprinkler Coalition, already knew the answer. Like Missouri, Kansas and most other states, including New Jersey and New York, had chosen to exempt themselves from that section of the International Residential Code.
Police and firefighters would gain control of their now-state-run pension fund under a measure that won final approval in the Assembly.
The bill (S3040) transfers management of the $26 billion pension fund to an independent panel overseeing investments and benefits. Police and fire union leaders seeking the change said the state wasted their money on costly hedge funds and underfunded the system by billions of dollars.
The Police and Firemen's Retirement System, while healthier than its counterparts, is $11 billion short of what it would cost to pay for promised benefits, according to actuary reports.
PFANJ Statement on S3040 – Pension Take-Over Legislation:
On March 13, 2017, Senate Bill 3040 passed in the Senate. While the PFANJ is still opposed to the passage of this bill, we were successful in getting an amendment into the bill before its passage in essence a “backup” plan was added. If the “new” system is not performing as the legislation intended it to, the system could revert back to the State of New Jersey.
This is just ONE amendment of many that are needed in order to protect the pensions of all PFANJ active and retired members of the PFRS. Until such time that all our concerns are addressed in the Assembly, the PFANJ will oppose the change in the Pension system.
Atlantic City is visited by over 27 million people every year, but the city is protected by Fire and Police departments already strained by budget cuts. Now the bureaucrats in charge of the state takeover of Atlantic City are ready to impose even more drastic budget cuts that will reduce the Firefighter force from 225 to 125, the smallest firefighting force in the history of Atlantic City. The police force is facing a reduction to 250, losing over 100 officers since 2010. This would be the smallest police force in the City since gambling was legalized in the early 1970's. This reduction of first responder positions will result in unsafe staffing levels and longer response times, putting the lives of the residents and visitors to Atlantic City at risk.
New Jersey Assembly Bill A4556 will ensure that public safety staffing in Atlantic City will be maintained at proper and safe levels. Please contact your Assembly people and tell them that they should put safety first.
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.
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.
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.
Harold A. Schaitberger
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.
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.
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: email@example.com
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