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 email@example.com.
We will endeavor to provide any needed information or address any concern in a
Make Your Voice Heard:
What's New at the PFANJ:
Wall Street Firm Where Chris Christie's Wife Works is Pulling in New Jersey Pension Fees
Under Gov. Chris Christie, New Jersey has funneled hundreds of millions of dollars to Wall Street firms as management fees on the state's pension funds. Just a few hundred thousand dollars of that has gone to a firm called Angelo Gordon over the past couple years, but David Sirota makes the case that it's worth a closer look nonetheless. Why? Well, Angelo Gordon hired Mary Pat Christie—the governor's wife—in 2012, paying her $475,000 a year.
Holiday Safety Tips From The IAFF & PFANJ
N.J. Pension Funds Sue Christie Over Cut Contributions
Trustees for the boards that oversee New Jersey’s pension funds for police officers, firefighters, teachers and other public workers sued Gov. Chris Christie Wednesday, seeking to force the state to pay nearly $2.5 billion into the retirement systems.
N.J. Among Worst Run States In Nation, Study Finds
Although the Garden State has a relatively low poverty rate and the third-highest median income in the nation, it was offset by several negative factors, the study said. Among the items that worked against New Jersey: a downward trending credit rating as well as the 10th-highest unemployment rate and a high debt per capita.
The study said New Jersey's cost of living is the third highest in the United States — 14 percent higher than the typical state. Its reported debt per capita of $7857 in 2012 was the fifth highest in the nation.
Our thoughts and prayers are extended to family, friends, and the members of the Cinnaminson Fire Department, and the represented membership of Local 3091, on the recent passing of
Lt. Chris Hunter, Cinnaminson Fire Department (Burlington County NJ, IAFF Local 3091).
Expressions of sympathy for the family or the local can be sent to IAFF Local 3091, P.O. Box 478, Hainesport, NJ 08036-0478.
N.J. Pensions: All Payers Treated Equally?
Your local tax collector is a payment point for a number of other entities and obligations. A very large portion of the property taxes collected are sent to fulfill County and School obligations. In that list of payees is the pension payment due to the local pension systems to meet the obligation of the local employment contracts. The State of NJ has similar obligations for its employees.
You as a taxpayer have paid your tax bill and we as local government entities have subsequently paid the local pension obligations. So where is the problem?
If it is not already, it should be common knowledge that there are four significant pension systems (excluding teachers) Local PERS, State PERS (Public Employees), Local PFRS, State PFRS (Police and Fire). The two local systems are actuarially funded at greater than 70% while the two state systems are funded at 50% or less. The reasons for this have been well documented. Local employers and employees have been required by state law to make every payment required of them. The local payments are required in every annual adopted budget and the employees make them through payroll deductions. Every One. Without Fail.
On the other hand the State of NJ has excused itself from significant contributions over the years by simply not including the payments in the state budget. In more recent years they have budgeted for the obligation but simply did not pay for it while using the money for something else. Have you tried this tactic with your mortgage company and been successful? What would happen if your employer tomorrow decided to stop paying their contractually obligated match to your 401K?
The Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey has Teamed up with Operation Warm!
Through this invaluable partnership, Professional Firefighters across the state of New Jersey are expanding Operation Warm’s mission.
Your contribution will help them provide the gift of warmth to
less-fortunate children in the communities they protect.
Help us provide new winter coats to New Jersey children in need.
There are a number of PFANJ locals from all across the state are participating in Operation Warm. You may donate to their page or to the PFANJ page. All money collected from the PFANJ page gets divided amongst the PFANJ locals participating.
Support jobs in the USA.
Help the PFANJ and its locals provide new winter coats to those children in need.
Please Click on the Link below to donate www.operationwarm.org/pfanj
Interested locals can contact our New Jersey rep, Laura Wisneski at firstname.lastname@example.org or 610.388.2500 x117.
Enjoy Military-Friendly Services and Reduced Tuition
Kaplan University, along with the IAFF, is proud to support our military and veterans in their educational pursuits by offering various military-friendly services and significantly reduced tuition:
All undergraduate program tuition is reduced up to 38 percent for veterans*
Specially trained Military Student Support Center
Award of credit for prior learning and military training†
Kaplan University is accredited, online and a member of the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC).‡
For U.S.- and Canada-based members who are not in the military, you can still qualify for a significant tuition reduction rate of $210 per credit for any undergraduate fire science degree program from our U.S.-based university.*
Choose from more than 180 programs. Click here or contact an admissions advisor at 866.583.6765 (toll free) for more
F.I.E.R.O. PPE Symposium
March 16-18, 2015
Raleigh, North Carolina
Want to learn more about the PPE you wear, maintain and manage?
The Fire Industry Equipment Research Organization (F.I.E.R.O.) Fire PPE Symposium, scheduled for March 16-18, 2015, in Raleigh, North Carolina, is the premier educational event on PPE.
The three-day conference includes education sessions, networking and exhibits. In addition, the F.I.E.R.O. Symposium will feature a tour of Textile Protection and Comfort Center (a.k.a. T-PACC) at North Carolina State University's College of Textiles. T-PACC is one of the world's premier research and testing facilities for fire fighter PPE. Attendees will see the testing equipment used to determine NFPA compliance, as well as other equipment used in PPE product development.
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.
Statement on the June 9, 2014 PFRS Board Meeting:
In 2010 the State Legislature with the approval of Governor Christie committed to
make pension contributions on behalf of the members of this Fund.
When this commitment was made, the firefighters and police officers were mandated to pay more into their pensions.
The firefighters and police officers have paid the higher costs, faithfully since it was mandated and have ALWAYS made their required payments. Unfortunately the State hasn't.
Instead of doing so, recently the Governor has declared that he would cut the promised contributions in violation of the contractual and legal rights of each member of this Fund. This will have the devastating effect of the loss of investment return on the required contributions.
As fiduciaries to this Fund, the PFRS board of trustees exercised their obligation to protect the trust and the rights of the members who are going to collect pensions from it.
I commend the PFRS board of trustees for voting today to protect the solvency of the PFRS Fund and its future, by commencing litigation to require the government to make the legally mandated contributions to this Fund.
Update on the Pension Payment Shortages by the Governor with His 2014 and Budgeted 2015 Numbers:
A meeting was held on Tuesday June 3rd, late afternoon with the NJEA and CWA attorneys. Besides the PFANJ, the following unions were in attendance; CWA, AFSCME, IFPTE, AFT, NJEA. The FOP were not present, but are on board. We had the Democratic Senate and Assembly Chiefs of staff in attendance. They discussed the budget and it’s shortfalls and listened to our comments and suggestions. We again got a commitment from the Senate COS that the Senate President is still committed to put the required funding in the budget and also the revenue sources where it should come from, but that the Governor will undoubtedly line item veto it and remove both from the budget.
We also offered the following to the Democratic Senate and Assembly COS’s:
Recoup a portion of the billions of dollars in corporate welfare by enacting a corporate business tax.
Reinstate the tax rate on millionaires which expired.
Mandate quarterly pension payments
End the treasurers ability to change actuarial assumptions after they have been approved for the fiscal year.
As you know, we had sent out via all our social media; email, Facebook, twitter and our mobile APP, to have everyone (active and retired) send letters to the pension board through the website the NJEA designed for all unions to use, to demand that their respective pension board take action.
At last count that I am aware of there were over 23,000 letters generated for the TPA, which were delivered Thursday at the TPA pension board meeting. Thursday was the first meeting of one of the pension systems, the TPA – Teachers. The teachers do not have a “majority” on the Pension board so they will have a more difficult time in getting the board to “move” on it. Unfortunately, the board voted 2-2. The motion with the TPA failed.
The next one up is the PFRS, ours on Monday June 9th and at last count there were over 6,000 letters generated which we will be delivering on Monday to the board. For all intents and purpose we do believe that a “majority” of members should vote in favor of hiring an independent council to demand that the governor pay the proper amount for 2014 and budget the proper amount for 2015, but you never know. We have two members, a PBA and an PFANJ/IAFF, on the board who can present to the board the request in writing and we will also hand deliver the 6,000+ letters.
We also had a lengthy discussion as to filing a suit against the Governor and State and how to go about it. It was agreed by all in the room that we would do this jointly! The NJEA and CWA attorneys would be the “lead” attorneys and they would keep all the unions attorneys in the loop. We also would invite all the other unions to join the “united unions” suit. We are attacking this on two fronts, one – interim relief because of the harm it does to the pension systems and through the normal system because the Governor is breaking the law. This suit is expected to be dropped on Monday, June 9th.
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.
Monday, March 31, 2014
To All PFANJ Members,
The existing arbitration law will expire as of midnight tonight. The Governor vetoed the compromised bill minutes after it was put on his desk. The Senate agreed with his CV and voted to approve the changes in the bill. The Assembly as of this point has not agreed and does not plan on taking up the Governors CV.
Here is what is at stake:
The new law would have changed the process of choosing an arbitrator from a random to each party submitting three names of arbitrators from the special panel and if none of the names submitted were the same, the random process would then be used. If more than one name were the same the commission would then randomly choose from those names. THE GOVERNOR REMOVED THIS LANGUAGE AND REVERTED BACK TO THE RANDOM PROCESS
The new law would have changed the “base” salary meaning to not include non-salary economic issues, pension and health and medical insurance costs. THE GOVERNOR REMOVED THIS LANGUAGE AND REVERTED BACK TO THE OLD MEANING.
The new law would have included in the base salary the savings’ realized by a public employer as of result of: (1) increased employee contributions toward health and medical insurance premiums occurring in the fourth year, except if the increase in the employee contributions toward health and medical insurance premiums are not in the fourth year at the time of the new collective bargaining agreement, base salary shall include the savings realized in the most recent year of implementation of increased employee contributions toward health and medical insurance premiums; and (2) a reduction in force which occurred prior to the expiration of the collective negotiations agreement. In the case of savings realized by a public employer under paragraphs (1) or (2) of this subsection, an arbitrator may render an award which increases base salary items by more than 2.0 percent, but not more than 3.0 percent. THE GOVERNOR REMOVED THIS LANGUAGE AND REVERTED BACK TO THE OLD MEANING!
THE GOVERNOR INSERTED LANGUAGE TO ESTABLISH “ANOTHER” TASK FORCE TO DO ANOTHER STUDY!
The new law would have exempted those contracts that otherwise meet the criteria set forth in the old law from the provisions of the new law when negotiating a future contract. THE GOVERNOR REMOVED THIS LANGUAGE AND REVERTED BACK TO THE OLD LAW WHICH WOULD KEEP IN FORCE THE 2% CAP.
Update on Lawsuit on Health Care Cost and Final Compensation Determination 2/4/2014
To all members:
The following is an update on our lawsuit against the state with respect to P.L. 2010,c.2:
On January 31, 2014, the Appellate Division issued a decision in Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey, Teamsters Local 97, NJ Fraternal Order of Police, NJ State PBA, FMBA and the NJEA v. State of New Jersey, et. als. These cases challenged Judge Feinberg’s January 20, 2011 decision granting the State’s motion to dismiss the Complaints challenging the imposition of P.L. 2010 c.1,2 and 3; 1.5% contribution for Health Care, change in definition of final compensation for pension purposes
The Appellate Division affirmed the lower court’s decision and dismissed the Complaints.
Our next available avenue for appeal is to the New Jersey Supreme Court. The New Jersey Supreme Court only hears a small number of cases each year. It can, and does, refuse to hear most cases that are brought before it. We will be evaluating with Teamster Local 97 President, whether or not we should appeal to the New Jersey Supreme Court. We will keep you updated.
Update on COLA Court Case - 1/28/2014
Today James Mets ESQ. appeared as counsel for PFANJ in challenging the cessation of COLA before the Appellate Division in Berg v. State. Because of the large number of attorneys involved in this matter, the primary responsibility for presenting the argument rested on Kenneth Nowak of Zazzali Fagella and Ira Mintz of Weisman and Mintz. The parties agreed that presenting redundant arguments would only serve to annoy the Appellate Division Judges. In this regard, we intended to present only supplemental argument to what Mr. Mintz and Mr. Nowak presented if necessary.
The Judges made it very clear at the argument today that after Mr. Mintz and Mr. Nowak argued on behalf of all the union plaintiffs, no additional argument was necessary or needed. Based on the demeanor of the judges and the fact that any argument we could have made would have been cumulative rather than supplemental, our attorney elected to rely on what was presented as well as what was contained in the briefs presented on behalf of all union plaintiffs. (Indeed, the Judges did get annoyed when an attorney for the interveners insisted on presenting argument that was cumulative and cut off the argument rather quickly.)
The Judges were very interested in our arguments regarding whether the elimination of the COLA by Chapter 78 violates the Contracts Clause of the Federal and State Constitutions. This issue was never addressed at the trial court level, because the trial court Judge decided the case on other constitutional grounds. It is the attorneys’ opinion that based on the Judges questioning and interest in this issue, it is likely for the Judges to issue a decision remanding this matter back to the trial court for consideration of the Contracts Clause issue.
In addition, the Court requested that the parties submit supplemental briefs regarding the issue of whether or not the COLA amendments of 1997 have any relationship to the Internal Revenue Code. Our attorney will submit a brief on behalf of the PFANJ and Teamsters Local 97 (President John Gerow). Our brief is due two weeks from today. The State’s opposition brief is due two weeks from the day our brief is due. While our attorney cannot predict, it is his hope that the Appellate Division issues a quick decision after it receives the supplemental briefs.
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.
January 10, 2014
We have published the first in a series of summary "primers" on how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) affects IAFF members.
Over the coming weeks and months, we will continue to provide communications, reference materials, tools and support to our affiliates and members, explaining in detail the provisions of the new law and how they affect our members.
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.
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
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
(631) 893-9116 (Office)
(917) 834-1414 (Cell) 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