Bowman 20th Anniversary Dinner Location: Westin Hotel Mt. Laurel, NJ
Brothers and Sisters,
As we have just honored our brothers and sisters in law enforcement during National Police Week, remembering those who made the supreme sacrifice for the citizens of this great country, we have many hurdles to overcome.
We continue to be viewed by the citizens as the enemy, instead of the answer to many of the problems that exist in this country. Where would this country be without anyone enforcing the laws?
It is unfortunate that while we do our jobs, there have been citizens and police officers who have lost their lives. A loss of life is always a true tragedy. The fact is that in most jobs besides police and fire, if you make a mistake it can be corrected without major consequences. However, if a police officer or firefighter makes a mistake in a split second, it can result in someone’s death. We all took the oath to serve and protect when we took this job, and I think we do it well. I ask all my brothers and sisters in blue to be careful in doing your jobs, remembering that this country depends on you.
As for our pensions, we are continuing the fight along with the three other public safety unions regarding the issues. The latest actuarial report released by the state shows that our PFRS pension fund is 76.9% funded. We still have two lawsuits pending, which are to have the COLA reinstated and to have the state of New Jersey add its full share into the pension, not the reduced rate that the governor has recommended for the budget. The governor is now saying that the legislation he signed and agreed to in 2011, known as Chapter 78, is unconstitutional. Even his law department had no problem with it when he signed it.
Our members have continued to live by Chapter 78, in which they are working more years before retiring, paying for a portion of their health care while working and increasing their pension contributions from 8.5% to 10%. Our retired members have had their COLA suspended since 2011, and to add insult to injury, the additional 1.5% of the pension contribution paid by our members is now reducing the contributions by cities and towns into the pension system. This year the state is paying Wall Street over $450 million more to make investments than it did when Christie was first elected governor.
These are just a few reasons that we, the four public safety unions, are looking into carving us out of the state pension systems and administering it on our own. This is not something that can happen overnight, but we are working diligently to determine what is best for our members and to protect our pension system.
Finally, we have been working on a new website for you, our members. We thought it would be up and running by the beginning of February, but we have found several problems and are working on correcting them now. Hopefully, everything will be finished and available by the Board of Directors meeting in June. Thanks for your patience.
Robert W. Fox
NJFOP President Bob Fox and NJFOP Executive Vice President Bob Gries attended the September 12 NY State FOP Cigar Night/Pig Roast. All proceeds from this event go to the NY State Survivors Aid Program. Here Fox and Gries join NY State President Mike Essig in front of the NY State Lodges Fallen Officers Memorial.