Allegiance to the Crook

The State Police will get a hearing on June 25th on the legality of this year’s partial waiver of contributions by the governor into the New Jersey pension plans.  Employee unions are also threatening suit but the pension board of the Teachers Plan will not sue and the Teachers Union president has issues with that:

the state board overseeing teachers’ retirement funds on Thursday declined to investigate what it could do to stop Christie from cutting the pension payments. The board of the Teachers’ Pensions and Annuity Fund — the largest of all the pension funds in New Jersey, with nearly 200,000 active and retired teachers — deadlocked 2-2 on a proposal to hire outside counsel to review Christie’s plan and suggest potential legal action.

The president of the New Jersey Education Association, Wendell Steinhauer, said after the meeting that the teachers’ union will still move ahead with its own lawsuit seeking to block Christie’s plan.

Steinhauer said it was disappointing the teachers’ pension board declined to take action, and noted that 23,000 active or retired teachers had signed letters urging the trustees to oppose Christie’s plan.

“I would ask them: In your capacity as voting members of the board, what is your responsibility here?” he said. “Is it to TPAF members and the health of the TPAF fund, or is it to the governor?”

I can answer that.  The two TPAF board members who voted against suing were  Paul Orihel, who represents the state’s pension actuaries* on the board, and Janice Nelson, a Christie administration representative and they know their roles.

Of course governor Christie broke a law which clearly required that a predefined contribution (however understatedly calculated) must be made on a timely basis and the governor did not have the time to have the actuaries go through revaluations with either a 15% interest assumption or a plague component in the mortality table so he used his emergency powers to get a number he was willing (for now) to come up with.

The question for the judicial system to decide becomes whether those emergency powers that a governor is provided allow him to break laws and it will be decided by someone else that a governor appoints.




* Why the actuaries need a representative on the board is unclear unless to dicker on fees.  It is also unclear (except by his vote) whether Orihel was a governor’s choice and what the other three members of this seven member board were doing on the day of this vote that was of more importance.

23 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by marbs on June 6, 2014 at 10:35 am

    Christie stacked the deck on the pension boards he appoints a majority could you imagine if one of them voted to seek outside counsel, they would be demonized and thrown off the board . As for the other three I believe they were stuck in traffic detours set up around their homes, LOL or maybe they were simply told to stay home.

    I do not want to argue fairness of pensions etc. Why was this contribution held until the end of the year? Didn’t the treasurer with the hyphenated last name finally check the cash box and see the state was running a bit low.

    Why is the David Rosen AKA Dr Kevorkian (a quote from Christie) of the non partisan Office of Legislative Services usually spot on or pretty darn close with his budget predictions and is always vilified by the king and his henchman Dweniak.

    Why isn’t this contribution which was budgeted for paid quarterly just like the locals have to pay? (Yes the locals do pay). Then if the state starts running low on cash everyone gets cut a little. Even the king..see below

    Why can’t King oops sorry Governor Christie take the Parkway and Turnpike like everyone else and stop taking the State Police Helicopters, true its probably only half a million or so a year but the tolls would be free for him.

    I propose the pension funds accept the payment the king proposes and let him finance the rest over the next year at a modest interest rate, like the faux Native American girl from Western Sky says on TV “Problem Solved”

    How does the administration know tax collections for next year will be down, so they have to cut the contributions already? Again let them make the contribution quarterly but keep checking the cashbox.


    • Posted by Tough Love on June 6, 2014 at 10:55 am

      Quoting Marbs … “I do not want to argue fairness of pensions etc. ”

      Of course you don’t, because you’re a Public Sector worker/retiree riding this pension gravy train and ALL Public Sector Pension Plans are always MULTIPLES (Most Often 3X-4X) greater in value at retirement that those of comparable Private Sector workers retiring at the SAME age with the SAME years of service and the SAME “cash pay”.

      We SHOULD be discussing Public/Private Sector pension “fairness”. After all it’s PRIMARILY because of the grossly excessive generosity that the funding requirements are so high to begin with.

      Funding FOLLOWS generosity.


      • Posted by marbs on June 6, 2014 at 11:26 am

        The reason for not discussing pensions was that that was not the topic of the article by Mr Bury. I was addressing points made in his article. We all know where you stand so why not stay on topic there are plenty of articles where in your mind your cut and pasted responses would be on point. This was not one of them.


        • Posted by Tough Love on June 6, 2014 at 11:43 am

          Might another reason for not wanting to discuss it be that there is simply zero justifiable defense for ANY greater Public Sector pensions, let alone the MULTIPLES GREATER Public Sector pensions that are ROUTINE today, and that Public Sector Union/worker refusal to appropriately (not “minimally”) address the issue (via very MATERIAL pension reductions for the future service of all CURRENT workers) is indefensible?


          • Posted by marbs on June 6, 2014 at 5:15 pm


          • Posted by Anonymous on June 6, 2014 at 6:59 pm

            OLS opinion out that says Christie can’t cut pension next year, will be interesting to see if state is ordered to repay what was not put in this year…

  2. Posted by Javagold on June 6, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    It’s funny that Marbs didn’t deny being a public taker. It’s even funnier how they stick out of the crowd , just by their typed words !!!


  3. Posted by Anonymous on June 6, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    Javagold and TL sitting in a tree, k i s s i n g. First comes love, then comes marriage then comes……….


  4. Posted by Anonymous on June 6, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    We stick out in the crowd because were were smart enough to take what we were offered in America the land of opportunity. People who neglected the opportunity are very jealous.


    • Posted by marbs on June 6, 2014 at 5:31 pm

      That they are…jealous that is:

      TL and others all cry that the poor taxpayers can’t give anymore…well if the State workers were in Social Security instead of the pension system the State would have to pay their share 7 1/2% there would be no holiday from paying the feds would want their money. Hey if Christie and the past Governors had put 7 1/2% of the payroll into the pension instead of stealing it the system would be in much better shape than it is.


      • Posted by MJ on June 6, 2014 at 5:48 pm

        Marbs you are still not addressing the fact that pensions and benefits were over promised and now that reality has set in they simply cannot be paid in full. This isn’t a problem unique to NJ. It’s all over the country, the globe. I wouldn’t count on much if I were you. Your over dependency on the government for your existence will be the ultimate undoing. BTW. Most state and public workers do pay into SS. I’m not at all jealous of any of you public workers. I find it amusing how you all put up your bravado and sense of ultimate entitlement when in reality most of you are sh!!ing your pants because you didn’t rely on yourselves you relied on the worthless politicians who would sell their own mother down the street. Tsk tsk. Hold on tight cause you ain’t seen nothing yet!


        • Posted by Tough Love on June 6, 2014 at 6:12 pm

          Well stated.


        • Posted by marbs on June 6, 2014 at 6:44 pm

          Police and Fire do not and cannot pay into Social Security. The reality is this:

          1. Currently retired workers will continue to receive their pensions, and will eventually get back their COLA. There will be no cuts to the pensions of those who are retired. The State and Local Authorities have taxing power and will be forced to use it use it to keep promises to retirees. The local plans are in much better shape than the State.

          2. My town has said over and over that they will continue to fund my healthcare. Yes I must accept whatever insurance they provide (right now BCBS) or pay the difference for a different plan. We are not in the SHBP so being self insured they can show savings comparable to the employee payments of those in the SHBP.

          3. I am not the least bit worried, my homes are paid for as are my cars, boat, ATV , Jet Ski etc.

          4. Instead of all the sky is falling rhetoric lets just see what happens, one of us has to be wrong.


          • Posted by Tough Love on June 6, 2014 at 7:15 pm

            Ok, let’s see what Christie comes up with …..

            But just FYI, with the cash pay level afforded police in NJ, they BENEFIT by NOT participating in Social Security, and ifyou did participate, do you think your compensation cost to your employer (i.e., the Taxpayers) would actually be higher via the Taxpayers paying the 6.2% employer share? Of course not, your cash pay would simply have been 6.2% LESS.

            Due the to the structure of the SS benefit formula (e.g., look up SS “bend points”) higher wage earners fair very poorly in terms of “return on investment”. The lowest wage earners fair quite well, as well as those with non-working spouses who collect spousal benefits.

          • Posted by MJ on June 6, 2014 at 8:59 pm

            Good for you Marbs! Are you trying to convince me or yourself? You are the one dependent on pensions and benefits being paid by the government not I so rock on. You forget that NJ real estate taxes, business taxes etc are already the highest in the nation and NJ is at the bottom for economic growth. Who shall we tax? The debt is overwhelming where would one begin to put a dent? No one is right and no one is wrong there simply isn’t any more money!

    • Posted by Tough Love on June 6, 2014 at 5:55 pm

      How about the 30 years (over a career) of retroactive pension & benefit “enhancements” the cost of which is always foisted almost 100% upon the Taxpayers ….. as bought-off elected official payback for your Union’s campaign contributions and election support.


  5. Posted by Anonymous on June 6, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    welcome to the good old usa


  6. Posted by Anonymous on June 6, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    I just bought Christie a harolds pub sandwich, my pension is safe for at least another 3 years


    • Posted by Tough Love on June 6, 2014 at 9:00 pm

      Been there ……

      Harold’s Deli in Edison, NJ is famous for HUGE (times 10) sandwiches …. makes the Stage and Carnegie Delis in NYC look like amateurs.

      Even Christie couldn’t eat a whole one.


      • Posted by marbs on June 7, 2014 at 8:34 am

        TL: Is Harolds the one in Raritan Center off Woodbridge Ave if it is I agree the sandwiches are huge went there with a friend who lived in Edison. Great Pastrami. You stated that CC couldn’t eat a whole one, I assume you mean post Lap Band Surgery (in NYC I might ad) pre lap band I think it could have gone either way if he went light on the pickle bar. Lets all take a break, relax and have a nice weekend.


  7. Posted by Anonymous on June 6, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    Yeah the Carnegie Deli really sucks, been there and even the french fries were cold and stale. Overpriced and small portions


  8. Wait, can you post the link to the law that determines the board? There’s a position for the ACTUARY? A voting position on the board? Not an advisor?

    The link you posted to the board does not include an actuary’s respresentative. And a quick google shows that Paul Orihel is a financial advisor, but is a New Jersey resident and likely a citizen member.


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