S5 and COLAs

An anonymous commenter suggested that S5, a bill transferring management of the New Jersey Police and Firemen’s Retirement System (PFRS) from the Division of Pensions and Benefits in the Department of the Treasury to the Board of Trustees of the PFRS, which is scheduled to be approved by the state Senate on Monday is primarily about restoring cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for retirees.

Looking over the language of the bill, the commenter may be right.

The board may, in its discretion and at such time and in such manner as the board determines, enhance any benefit set forth in P.L.1944, c.255 (C.43:16A-1 et seq.) as the board determines to be reasonable and appropriate or modify any such benefit as an alternative to an increase in the member contribution rate, which increase the board determines to be reasonable, necessary, and appropriate, or reinstate, when appropriate, such reduced benefit to the statutory level without an additional contribution by the member. The board shall act exclusively on behalf of the contributing employers, active members of the retirement system, and retired members as the fiduciary of the system. The primary obligation of the board shall be to direct policies and investments to achieve and maintain the full funding and continuation of the retirement system for the exclusive benefit of its members. (page 16)
The board shall consist of 12 trustees as follows (pages 16-18):
  • Three active policemen
  • Three active firemen
  • One retiree from the system
  • Five trustees, to be appointed by the Governor
At least eight votes of the authorized membership of the board  shall be required to approve any enhancement or reduction of a member benefit, other than for the activation of the application of the “Pension Adjustment Act,” P.L.1958, c.143 (C.43:3B-1 et seq.), for retirees, or to approve any increase or decrease in the employer contribution that is more than what is recommended by the actuary for the system for the purpose of the annual funding requirements of the system. (page 25)
 The Board of Trustees of the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System may adjust the monthly retirement allowance or pension of its retired members in accordance with subsection b. of section 13 of P.L.1944, c.255 (C.43:16A-13). (cf: P.L.2011, c.78, s.25) (pages 2 -3)
That last excerpt refers to the law that took away COLAs and that section reads:
Commencing with the effective date of P.L.2011, c.78 and thereafter, no further adjustments to the monthly retirement allowance or pension originally granted to any retirant and the pension or survivorship benefit granted to any beneficiary shall be made in accordance with the provisions of P.L.1958, c.143 (C.43:3B-1 et seq.), unless the adjustment is reactivated as permitted by law. This provision shall not reduce the monthly retirement benefit that a retirant or a beneficiary is receiving on the effective date of P.L.2011, c.78 when the benefit includes an adjustment granted prior to that effective date. (page 41)
The method of reinstating COLAs under the 2011 law, as explained on the Division of Pensions website:
 Chapter 78 also provides for the establishment of Pension Committees which may consider reinstating the COLA when the retirement systems reach “target funded ratios” established by the law. At that time, the Pension Committees are to give the reactivation of the COLA priority consideration.
Since COLA restoration is exempt from the requirement to get 8 out of 12 votes, will the 2011 rules (when there were eleven trustees) then apply?
Each trustee shall be entitled to one vote in the board. A majority vote of all trustees shall be necessary for any decision by the trustees at any meeting of said board. (page 13)
Does that mean seven votes are needed when there are six participants and one retiree on the board?

47 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by boscoe on February 24, 2018 at 1:44 pm

    “Does that mean seven votes are needed when there are six participants and one retiree on the board?”

    That’s how I read it. We don’t need no stinkin’ Pension Committee.

    Reply

  2. Posted by skip3house on February 24, 2018 at 2:26 pm

    Why do we do this to ourselves? Must have lots of time to kill and taxes to waste?

    Reply

  3. Posted by Tough Love on February 24, 2018 at 3:26 pm

    Here’s the bottom line on S5………….. and the extraordinary betrayal of NJ’s Taxpayers by Legislators who affirmatively vote for it:

    Per the NJ 7/11/2017 Actuarial Reports, the Local PFRS “official” funding ratio is 69%. If the “actuarial” value of assets were replaced with the “market” value of assets, that 69% would drop to 66.7%.

    Not a big deal from THAT change, but if instead of valuing the Local PFRS Plan using the very liberal assumptions (e.g., higher interest rates and lower life expectancy etc.) and methodology (longer periods for amortization of unfunded liabilities, etc.) used by PUBLIC Sector Plans, it was valued using the SAME assumptions and methodology commonly used (and mostly REQUIRED) in the valuation of Private Sector Plans, that 66.7% would drop into the mid-40s%. Yes, a mid-40s% funding ratio on the SAME based as that used in the valuation of Private Sector Plans.

    Yet when the funding ratio of PRIVATE Sector Plans drops below 60%, by US Treasury/IRS Regulations, the Plan is barred from granting any further accruals. This is done to alert Plan Participants, to encourage the Corporation to increase contributions (to get back over the 60% cutoff), and to protect Taxpayers who (through the PBGC) may have to bailout (up to an annual maximum per Plan participant) a failing Plan.

    So here we are, where the Local NJ PFRS Plan is (when valued on the SAME basis as PRIVATE sector Plans) about 1/3 BELOW (yes BELOW) the Gov’t cutoff barring any further Plan accruals, Bill S5 would be giving to conflicted parties (the Police Union/workers) the ability to reinstate COLAs, Increase benefits, and decrease employee contributions.

    WHY, when the US Gov’t looks to “protect” Taxpayers from ADDITIONAL exposure and risk (by freezing accruals) when the Plan funding ratio drops below 60%, is ……. when NJ’s Local PFRS has a mid-40s % funding ratio when calculated on the SAME basis as that 60% cutoff …….. NJ’s Legislature seem determined to INCREASE the Taxpayer’s exposure and risk ?

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on February 24, 2018 at 4:24 pm

      The needs to be and MUST be a “mechanism” to override a Legislature so beholden to the Public Sector Unions for their money and member’s re-election votes, that they so overtly betray the best interests of NJ’s Taxpayers …………. beyond waiting years to vote them out of office.

      Reply

      • Posted by skip3house on February 24, 2018 at 4:33 pm

        For over 20 years now, mention has been made of needing an efficient, fast, computer signature based Initiative and Referendum system, where we all could just sign up with banks, etc. to verify signatures being sent on I&R to NJ to overturn, or create laws.
        Cannotimagine why Legislators will not give us this power…?

        Reply

        • Posted by Anonymous on February 24, 2018 at 11:33 pm

          Skiphouse. We are a representative democracy. We elect others to run govt for us. Even Christie was of the opinion that referenda should be used sparingly.

          Reply

          • Posted by skip3house on February 25, 2018 at 9:48 am

            ‘Rep Demo’…wouldn’t have this any other way for the every day NJ/U.S. govt usually needed.
            What of BREXIT, and now real gun control, and unfunded by way beyond half all our social supports/nets from Pensions, Rx…..to Social Security?
            NJ late 1940s Constitution writers did not know computers now make it possible to have quick response to major interests. Let’s use today’s tools to shape govt actions for common good of all people/interests, and keep fundamental meaning of Democracy w/o restrictions.
            Sorry if this upsets some. Perhaps followers of this (best of all) ‘blog’ would be better served w/o controversy? Regards.

          • Posted by Anonymous on February 25, 2018 at 11:15 am

            Hmmmm….if everyone could vote on every single issue/resolution, I wonder how the taxpayers of my town would vote on the issue of spending money to repave my cul de sac where 6 homes and maybe 20 voters reside? 8000 no and maybe 100 yea? (We have friends in town). Lol.

      • Posted by Anonymous on February 24, 2018 at 11:24 pm

        Mr. Bury— thank you for actually reading the at times mundane back and forth in the comments section of your blog. Lol. I am the anonymous PFRS member who believes this bill is just about COLA. My prediction is it will return. My hope is that there is an increase in the retirement age to counterbalance the money spent. I do not wish to make enemies of the taxpayers.
        To TL, this bill was passed overwhelmingly in the senate and assembly LAST year. If the taxpayers were so concerned about it, they had a chance to vote out the folks who supported it last Nov., instead they also elected Murphy as opposed to Guadagno who would have been more likely to veto the bill like Christie. So…..no just because some part of the populace doesn’t like a duly elected governing body does not give federal or any other authority the power to remove them. That is precisely why we have elections.

        Reply

        • Posted by Anonymous on February 25, 2018 at 12:17 am

          With about 40000 or so active Pfrs, I think it’s fair to say about 6000 or so guys would be between 48-55. Assuming $100000 each in saved pension benefits/actives still putting in, that gives about $600 million a year that could be used for cola for about the a little more than 40,000 retirees. Less if you have a 4 yr wait for cola. Using the old rule of .6x the SS raise for Pfrs cola, that gives lots of older cops money they need to keep up w inflation. TL, that .6x SS raise is at least closer to the formula you propose. 100% of the raise given to SS on the first $32000 of pension.

          Reply

        • Posted by Tough Love on February 25, 2018 at 3:13 am

          To fully offset the cost of reinstating COLAs, the commencement of Police/Fire pensions would (on average) have to be start about 6 years AFTER they retire.

          Does that work for you ?

          Reply

          • Posted by Anonymous on February 25, 2018 at 8:56 am

            Depends on the age at retirement. For a 48 yr old? Absolutely. For a 55 yr old no. Still allow an officer to retire early if they but pension frozen until a minimum age. Then they can start collecting. Or they can work until the hit thy age. I’m not saying 65 years old. Just saying do the math and find that age where it works best for both sides. Again, we don’t want 61 year old cops breaking up bar fights, Dv calls etc.
            look at the age of the coward cop in broward county. I can guarantee you it was the younger guys en masse who who went right in. Just saying…I think 55 is about the right age to leave. Give or take.

          • Posted by Anonymous on February 25, 2018 at 8:58 am

            It appears the Coral Springs dept did their job. Broward county by any metric did not. The Coral Sorings guys are pretty pissed at them too as well they should.

          • Posted by Tough Love on February 25, 2018 at 1:03 pm

            Anon, To offset the COLAs, holding the current formulas/provisions unchanged, it’s not “an age”, the change would require that everyone (retirees, terminators, early retirees), would have to wait just about 6 years (beyond the year in which they WOULD outerwise have started collecting their pension) before payouts could commence.

            Raising the minimum age to say 57 would do little, because MOST would continue to work until 57 continuing to accrue additional pension benefits.
            ______________________________

            Above, I’m just responding your suggestion ………… correcting what’s needed for a full COLA-offset ………….. but don’t think that I believe that doing so is even remotely “sufficient”.

            COLAs (thankfully now suspended in NJ) is a thick layer of icing on an already WAY too rich cake…… noting that Private Sector pensions VERY rarely include ANY COLAs.

            I demonstrated a few days back that NJ Police pensions (for an Officer retiring at age 55 with 25 years of service and with NO COLA increases ever) RIGHT NOW gets a pension with a value upon retirement 3.47 times that of a similarly situated (in wages, age at retirement and years of service) Private Sector worker.

            To even BEGIN approaching something reasonable, the basic Police/Fire pension should be reduced in value (via formula AND provision changes) by AT LEAST 50% and COLAs (assuming Police/Fire remain out of Social Security) should only apply to the portion of their pension not exceeding the SS max (now about $32k).

            While I’m sure you think the changes that I just suggested are draconian, if implemented, Police/Fire pensions would STILL be almost twice as generous as the Pensions granted Private Sector who retire at the SAME age, with the SAME wages, and the SAME years of service.

            And yes, I know that it’s hard to change the thinking of some who for 20+ years has become used to, and has been repeatedly told they are “entitled” to sooooo much more. Keep one thing in mind……. the math ALWAYS governs in the endgame……… and right now (when valued on the SAME basis as that required by the US Gov’t for Private Sector pensions) the Local NJ PFRS Plan has a funding ratio 1/3 LESS than the gov’t cutoff applicable to Private Sector pensions, below which no further pension accruals can be granted.

            The changes you are wishing for will only hasten your Plan’s failure.

          • Posted by Tough Love on February 25, 2018 at 2:27 pm

            In case you can’t find or don’t believe that RIGHT NOW, NJ Police pensions are ROUTINELY 3.47 time greater in value upon retirement than those typically granted comparably situated (in age at retirement, in wages, and in years of service) Private Sector workers (still lucky enough to be participating in a Final Average Salary DB Plan that isn’t “frozen” and that is still crediting pension accruals), below is the demonstration I referred to in my above comment.
            ——————————————————-

            A typical NJ Police Officer retires after 25 years with an annual pension of 65% of final wages starting at about age 55 (with NO reduction in that formula benefit). Getting 65% of pay after 25 years gives a per-year-of-service “formula-factor” of 0.65/25 = 0.026 or 2.6%.

            Private Sector pension Plans (for the few Private Sector workers lucky enough to still be accruing benefits in such Plans) typically have a per-year-of-service “formula-factor” of about 1.5%, and the Plan has an NRA=Normal Retirement AGE (the youngest age at which unreduced pensions can commence) of 65. And if you elect to retire at a younger age, your pension is permanently reduced by about 5% PER-YEAR-OF-AGE younger than that NRA (noting that Social Security uses an even higher reduction of about 6% in it’s early retirement calculations).

            Putting aside (for the moment) your question of adding COLAs, let’s compare the “generosity” of the above Public vs Private formulas/provisions assuming $150,000 in final wages (certainly NOT unusual for a 2017 NJ Police retiree given that the most retire with a rank above Patrolman), 25 years of service, and retirement at age 55…….

            The NJ Policeman would get an annual pension of:

            $150,000 x 25 x 0.026 = $97,500

            The Private Sector worker (with the SAME wages, the SAME years of service, and the SAME age at retirement) would get an annual pension of:

            ($150,000 x 25 x 0.015)x [1 – (0.05 x (65-55))] = $28,125

            Comparing the two, $97,500/$28,125 = 3.47

            The NJ Police Officer’s pension is 3.47 times greater (more “generous”).
            _______________________________________________

            Instead of NJ’s Police retirees asking for a return of their COLAs, NJ’s Taxpayers should be demanding a material reduction in the “generosity of the basic Police pension, the current one being ludicrously excessive. At a MINIMUM, the changes that were put in place in 2011 for NEW workers should apply to the FUTURE service of all CURRENT workers.

        • I thought Guadagno was for this………

          Reply

          • Posted by Chris Russo on November 2, 2018 at 11:54 pm

            Will people stop comparing private pensions with the police and firefighters. These 2 jobs are the most dangerous jobs in the world, less a soldier at war. Look at the number of quality years a cop or a firefighter has once he or she retires. It is much lower than the national average. Generally, people do not want to run into burning buildings or chase someone for 100 yards or so only to find out that he’s built like a brick shit house and now you have to engage this moron. For many, many years police and firefighters were among the lowest paid jobs in the country. Our jobs were not really recognized and rewarded until 100″s of firefighters and policemen lost their lives on September 11th, 2001. The gratitude from the governing bodies was beautiful, but unfortunately short-lived. The decades of stealing from our pension started again and this time they didn’t”t candy coat it. We’re taking it. Period. Police and fire deserve much more than they will ever receive. We do the job that most people are unwilling to do and then we are told you got it made. Bring back COLA and make them retroactive. Give back to the retirees that you have stolen from for the past 7 years. Anything less than 3% a year for active members is an insult and should be looked at it that way. The quality of life both psychologically and physically is very sad. Suicides, failed marriages, etc. and you respond with how about my taxes. I have a suggestion. PAY THEM

  4. Posted by Tough Love on February 25, 2018 at 7:02 pm

    Don’t believe ME about how insane/irresponsible Bill S% is ?

    Read the following for the NJ Star Ledger:

    http://www.nj.com/opinion/index.ssf/2018/02/another_gift_to_the_unions_another_pummeling_for_t.html

    Reply

  5. Posted by Eric on February 26, 2018 at 9:39 am

    I guess Murphy really did not care about the “little people” meaning the ones who had been emptying the bedpans, retired, and were screwed by Christie breaching the agreement for cost of living adjustments which had been the law at the time of their retirement. They had no notice of the “screw job” since they had already been retired.
    Beware of people from Goldman Sacks aka the “vampire squid” of the investing community. He only talked a good game to these people. No conscience. No law.
    Again, New Jersey is a Banana Republic. Everyone with any brains is either leaving or has already left.
    Eric

    Reply

  6. Posted by Stanley on February 26, 2018 at 10:19 am

    How will S5 effect the administration of other public employee pension plans? How can they justify COLA adjustments for police and fire and not hand over similar adjustments to teachers, librarians and other municipal, county and state employees? This should be interesting.

    Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on February 26, 2018 at 10:42 am

      Simple. The vast majority of police and fire do not get social security benifits. Those that do have it cut by the WEP. The other funds are much larger and are less funded.
      You may not agree with the argument, but that is the one that will be made.

      Reply

      • Posted by Anonymous on February 26, 2018 at 10:45 am

        In general police and fire pensions are more generous than others(yea TL we know how you feel) however when other funds pensions are combined with SS(that has a cola, and no one is suggesting they cut that) the police pensions are then pretty much on par with teachers, etc.

        Reply

        • Posted by Tough Love on February 26, 2018 at 12:51 pm

          Anon,

          Baloney, When you factor in the worker’s SS contributions (with a REAL lousy return on investment), and the fact that SS isn’t collectable until age 66/67 (w/o VERY material reduction), NJ’s Police/Fire pensions remain far in excess of non-Safety worker pensions + SS.

          And so that readers don’t forget …….. non-Safety worker pensions in NJ are more than TWICE as generous as those typically granted comparably situated Private Sector workers……… with Police/Fire 3.47 times greater (per my above demonstration).

          There is no more appropriate description than ……. STEALING from the Taxpayers.

          Reply

  7. Posted by geo8rge on February 26, 2018 at 10:58 am

    Assuming we are going to be constitutional/rule of law about this, if the police/fire pension demands a bailout, under what legal theory would the state be required to comply as the police/fire pension voted their own benefit levels.

    Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on February 26, 2018 at 12:01 pm

      There won’t be a bailout. The only benefit you will see back is the COLA. Everyone needs to relax. For 7 years everyone hired will get less benifits. This will slowly reduce the amount the towns pay. The PFRS has adequate funding to last for a few decades. We will not see a bailout/collapse in our day. The salaries increases have slowed and the future pensions of tier 3 retirees will be noticeably less

      Reply

      • Posted by Tough Love on February 26, 2018 at 12:56 pm

        Relax my ass………. pension COLAs to someone retiring as young as Police, increases the value of an otherwise identical pension (but w/o COLA) by about 25% to 30%.

        Reply

      • Posted by Tough Love on February 26, 2018 at 1:07 pm

        Quoting ………. ” This will slowly reduce the amount the towns pay. ”

        Again, baloney. With 3/4 of Police “actives” still accruing pension benefits under the (even MORE grossly excessive) PRE-2011 changes, and with a (properly calculated) Local PFRS funding ratio now in the mid-40s% simply paying off the unfunded liability ……. should Taxpayers be SO UNLUCKY as to have to actually do so ! ……….. will keep contributions going UP for decades.

        Reply

        • Posted by Anonymous on February 26, 2018 at 1:22 pm

          The 2011 reforms also cap pensionable salary at he SS rate. $128,000 or something close. A tier 3 guy will get 65% after 30 years. That’s $83,200 max. Don’t forget towns do not pay into SS for police. There is of course the DC plan for for those folks who
          Make more but I don’t think that is your main gripe TL. $83,200 and no SS or in lots of cases now NO medical for new hires, is not really out of line. Would u bitch if a teacher for $50000 pension and $32000 for SS?

          Reply

          • Posted by Tough Love on February 26, 2018 at 2:29 pm

            Oh so your ignoring that the $128K max (or whatever it now is) will go up as SS increases this periodically? There is no reason to believe that it will increase less than the CPI and due to SS’s own financial problems is likely to increase at an even faster pace. The 128K is now likely about 85% of pensionable wages of police with 25+ years of service upon retirement, and if we add in those who retire with only 20 years, lilely an even higher percentage. There is no reason to believe that those percentages will decrease over time ……….. so the reductions you are alluding to are minimal at best.

            And an #83K pension for a 2017 NJ Police retiree would still be THREE times more generous upon retirement than those typically granted comparably situated Private Sector workers.

            You’re still trying to BS you way out from under the undeniable FACT that NJ Police pensions REMAIN (even AFTER the 2011 sages) ludicrously excessive.
            ________________

            I don’t have the time to research (the details of the 2011 changes) now, but where you stated “NO medical for new hires”, I’m assuming you mean in retirement, not while active.

            While I doubt that is completely true, even IF TRUE, all it would do is put them in the SAME position that 95+% of Private Sector workers now find themselves. Big Whoop.
            ———————————————————
            Quoting ……….. “Would u bitch if a teacher for $50000 pension and $32000 for SS?”

            Yes, I sure would and DO…………… the Private Sector worker with SAME wage history, the SAME age at retirement, and the SAME years of service would (assuming they were among the few in the Private Sector still accruing benefits under a Final Average Salary DB pensions) ASSUREDLY be getting a pension with a value upon retirement no more than HALF that granted the NJ teacher.

      • Posted by Tough Love on February 26, 2018 at 1:14 pm

        Quoting ……….. “The salaries increases have slowed”

        Oh, seems you forgot* that the 2% Police Salary Arbitration cap has expired.

        * “Forgot” …. my ass !
        ——————————–

        Do you guys ever stop lying and intentionally misleading ?

        Reply

        • Posted by Anonymous on February 26, 2018 at 1:31 pm

          Oh please. Cry me a fuckin River. Raises before 2011 were already starting to come down.
          Last four years for me:
          2014. 0
          2015. 1.25
          2016. 1.75
          2017. 1.75
          All the cap expiration will do is bring actual raises closer to 2%. Instead of punishing guys cause so many folks in steps.
          Shit is expensive in this state TL. And it is NOT because of your boys in blue—-but rather it is school taxes. Do you really that young guys will stay with shit raises like that?? Would u stay with your job if you knew u were locked in to that??
          I make absolutely no apologies for my salary TL. As I’m I am damn sure you don’t either.
          That’s the way it is sista. Go ahead now, tell me how uneducated and greedy I am.

          Reply

          • Posted by Anonymous on February 26, 2018 at 1:56 pm

            And let’s look at the $$$$ you’re boy pissed away the last 8 years. Just because HE is a greedy, power hungry fool.
            $400 mil race to the top.
            $14 mil special election for Booker. Ya know cause god forbid someone vote for Buono—-I gotta be king of he works in 2016.
            $7 mil at least on the ridiculous Maestro report that exonerated him.
            $225 mil awful settlement w Exxon.
            Too many superstorm sandy issues to count. Like the senior center in Edison.
            My two faves are trying to get a bill passes so he can profit off of a book, and of course the last minute bill that allows Dana Reed and some others to greatly enhance their pensions. Actually reversed a law for those folks.
            I’m sure I missed a few. Jump in w some of you remember any others….
            Not even counting out of stare to run for pres/ state helicoptor to his kids game.

          • Posted by Tough Love on February 26, 2018 at 2:37 pm

            Anon, NJ Police with just 5 years of service now make (in MANY NJ Towns) about $135K annually. Who in the Private Sector without WAY WAY WAY more education and professional credentials (doctors, lawyers, etc.) makes that after only 5 years ………… and then get layered ON TOP, a pension and retiree healthcare benefits that the Private Sector would cut off an arm to get ?

            The small percentage increases that you are complaining about are applied to CURRENT salaries that are unjustifiably excessive by any and every reasonable metric.

          • Posted by Anonymous on February 26, 2018 at 3:22 pm

            TL. You are just factually wrong about cops retiring at 20 years. Look it up. Virtually no one does. This benefit is also only for those hired prior to 2000. Please provide evidence of one, just one police contract that give officers $135k after 5 years. If you can I promise I will never challenge your facts again. My dept is 14 steps to top pay and i can assure you that no one in those steps is close to $135k.
            You really expect folks to work for peanuts. Lol.
            When I say no medical after retirement, I mean like longevity for new hires, through negotiations this benifit is eliminated for new hires. Many dept never offer this. You really do not have a working knowledge of police collective bargaining agreements and pay scales. Look it up online. All public contracts are or at least should be on the state website. By me, after 5 years you are making $68000. Again, you think that’s a lot. I don’t. I maintain that cops deserve middle class lifestyles. If you think even $150,000 is upper class you are out of touch.

          • Posted by Tough Love on February 26, 2018 at 4:29 pm

            Anon, In the northern part of NJ $135K annual salaries have become commonplace for Patrolman (yes, the lowest rank) once they get past the salary grade-in period …. which varies from 5 to 7 years in most towns.
            ——————————–
            Quoting ……… ” This benefit is also only for those hired prior to 2000. ”

            What are you referring to by …”This benefit” ?
            ——————————
            Quoting …. “You really expect folks to work for peanuts. ”

            Please look at my above demonstration that the pension now granted NJ Police are 3.47 times greater in value upon retirement than those of comparably situated Private Sector workers. If you can identify anything in error in that demonstration, please do so. If not, I’d love to hear your justification for that LUDICROUSLY excessive pension, 80% to 90% of the total cost of which is now the responsibility of NJ’s Taxpayer contributions (and the investment earnings thereon …………. earnings that in the absence of these absurd “promises” would have stayed in the Taxpayers’ pockets, perhaps to fund there far SMALLER retirements.)
            —————————-
            Quoting …………….. “When I say no medical after retirement, I mean like longevity for new hires, through negotiations this benifit is eliminated for new hires. ”

            No you didn’t say that, you said ……….. “NO medical for new hires”. Thanks for clarifying that by now adding the word “retirement”.

            My above response to this issue stands as previously stated……….

            “… IF TRUE, all it would do is put them in the SAME position that 95+% of Private Sector workers now find themselves. Big Whoop.”
            —————————–

            If you (as a NJ Police Officer have GROSS base pay of $68K after 5 completed years of service, you likely work in one of NJ’s lowest paid towns……. It is FAR more than that in the northern half of NJ.

            ———————————

            Quoting ……….. “All public contracts are or at least should be on the state website. ”

            Make it easy for the readers ………. please provide a link to these contracts.
            —————————–

            It’s not the $100K or $125K wages (for long-service) that are the BIG problem ………… it’s your LUDICROUSLY excessive pensions & benefits layered ON TOP those ALREADY very high wages, that often make the value of even the lowest rank Patrolman’s Total Compensation package (wages + pensions + benefits) worth over $200K annually.

            It’s completely unnecessary, unjust, unfair to Taxpayers, and clearly unaffordable.

          • Posted by Anonymous on February 26, 2018 at 4:54 pm

            I am in Bergen county. I am a supervisor and my base is just under $150. And it took me 6.5 years to make top pay. For someone hired today it takes 14 years. Very few towns are 5-7 to top pay anymore. I have 23 years in.
            The 50% pension at 20 years is only available to folks hired prior to 2000. Very few take it as it is.
            Many of the surrounding towns have got the medical after retirement concession from departments.
            http://Www.state.nj.us/perc
            Or just google nj perc.
            Public contracts. Arbitration decisions. It’s all there.

          • Posted by Tough Love on February 26, 2018 at 6:28 pm

            Ok finally someone admitting to the very high BASE PAY …. $150K after 6.5 years………. though not sure what a “supervisor” means (Sargent, Detective, Patrolman but “supervising” others ?).

            Quoting ………. “I am in Bergen county. I am a supervisor and my base is just under $150. And it took me 6.5 years to make top pay. For someone hired today it takes 14 years. ”

            Ok, but ALL Officers hired before the 2011 changes remain (for their full careers) on the higher (even MORE excessive pay scale…. AND with greater pensions/benefits). When changes are made in the PRIVATE Sector it typically impacts everyone immediately. It should be no different in the Public Sector …… after all, it’s the PRIVATE sector that pays you.

            And while it may take 14.5 years for post 2011 hires to get the the $150K, what’s really the appropriate comparison is ………… what is their base pay at 3 years, 5 years 8 years 11 years etc., and compare that to the Base wages of Private Sector workers with reasonably comparable education, experience, skills and knowledge.

            While there may not be be THAT be a difference in “wages” once you get over 15 years, once you factor in the MULTIPLES more generous pensions & benefits, NJ Police “Total Compensation” (wages + pensions + benefits) far exceeds that of comparably situated Private Sector workers.

            There is ZERO justification for this. If you asked an unbiased group of NJ residents if they believed that Police/Fire should get pensions of greater value upon retirement than those typically granted comparably situated (in wages, age at retirement, and years of service) Private Sector workers, MOST (including myself) would say yes. But if you took that one step further, and asked what that % greater should be, many would say 10%, another significant group would say 25%, some would say 50%, but NOBODY would even become REMOTELY close the the 3.47 times greater pensions in place in NJ RIGHT now ……… per my demonstration in a comment above.

  8. Posted by Tough Love on February 26, 2018 at 8:33 pm

    John,

    Was the bill approved by the state Senate ……….. I can’t find anything online ?

    Next steps ?

    Reply

  9. Posted by Tough Love on February 26, 2018 at 11:21 pm

    John,

    I just found something in S5 that …..depending on the interpretation of the punctuation …. might be interpreted in 2 different ways;

    Form S5:

    “Under the bill, the board of trustees has the authority to establish a process for the review, approval, and appeal of applications for retirement. The bill provides the board of trustees with authority to modify the system’s member contribution rate; cap on creditable compensation; formula for calculation of final compensation; and standards for special retirement and disability retirement. The bill allows the board to reinstate cost of living adjustments for retirees. Under the bill, the board may alter any benefit set forth in statute for the PFRS. There are to be at least eight votes of the authorized membership of the board to approve any enhancement or reduction of a member benefit, other than the activation of the
    now-suspended cost of living adjustment for retirees, or to approve any increase or decrease in the employer contribution that is more than what is recommended by the actuary for the system for the purpose of the annual funding requirements of the system.”

    Addressing only the LAST sentence only, I am showing it 2 ways with parenthesis added to distinguish 2 DIFFERENT interpretations:

    (1) There are to be at least eight votes of the authorized membership of the board to approve any enhancement or reduction of a member benefit, other than (the activation of the now-suspended cost of living adjustment for retirees, or to approve any increase or decrease in the employer contribution that is more than what is recommended by the actuary for the system for the purpose of the annual funding requirements of the system).

    (2) There are to be at least eight votes of the authorized membership of the board to approve any enhancement or reduction of a member benefit, (other than the activation of the now-suspended cost of living adjustment for retirees), or to approve any increase or decrease in the employer contribution that is more than what is recommended by the actuary for the system for the purpose of the annual funding requirements of the system.

    Under version (1) BOTH reinstating COLAs AND changing employer contributions only require 7 affirmative votes.

    Under version (2) the COLA-reinstatement requires only 7 affirmative votes, but changing the employer contributions requires 8 affirmative votes.

    Proper English would support Version (2) because of the existence of the 2-nd comma in that sentence.

    While I don’t know the intent of this Bill’s authors or what has been verbally stated as the number of affirmative votes necessary to change employer contributions, it’s very poor form to leave things like this so ambiguous ….. and of course may allow the (very often) less-than-above-board Unions to sneak in something that was not intended.

    Any thoughts?

    Reply

    • It’s a grammatical issue that seems clear to me to mean that 7 votes are only for the COLA – but that does not mean a NJ court would see the same thing if it were for them to see it otherwise.

      Reply

      • Posted by skip3house on February 27, 2018 at 10:14 am

        “….COLA – but that does not mean a NJ court would see the same thing if it were for them to see it otherwise…”
        Exactly, what are printed words vs. living powerful politicians with special interests? Our blogs need a Responsive I & R system..

        Reply

    • Posted by boscoe on February 27, 2018 at 4:11 pm

      From the bill itself: “At least eight votes of the authorized membership of the board shall be required to approve any enhancement or reduction of a member benefit, other than for the activation of the application of the “Pension Adjustment Act,” P.L.1958, c.143 (C.43:3B-1 et seq.), *for retirees, or to approve* any increase or decrease in the employer contribution that is more than what is recommended by the actuary for the system for the purpose of the annual funding requirements of the system.”

      Tough Love, your second interpretation is the correct one. However I agree that the drafting should have been more precise, mainly by replacing the comma with a semicolon (;) between “for retirees,” and “or to approve” as highlighted.

      P.S. The bill was held for further consideration on Monday Feb. 26.

      Reply

  10. Posted by Retired police on February 28, 2018 at 6:53 pm

    To burypensions:

    I want to thank you for deleting my post, how very kind of you to do so. I suppose
    my post wasn’t politically correct enough for you liking.

    Reply

  11. Posted by VINCENT SALERNO on July 3, 2018 at 10:48 am

    Has there been any consideration of a bill which would allow for COLA for retirees who remain living in the state of nj
    It becomes a bit of a nobrainer to relocate to a lower cost of living state, therefore taking the current retirement dollars to that other state.
    Retirees need a reason to remain in nj, the lack of COLA only ticks one more box in the leave column.

    Reply

  12. Posted by William Young on December 3, 2018 at 2:08 pm

    Will the New Jersey retired police and fire pension system receive a cola in 2019?
    If not, what has been decided about the cola?

    Reply

    • No COLAs and no notices on state website. I don’t even know if there have ever been any meetings of the committee that was supposed to set up to review COLA returns.

      Reply

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