I realize the return of cost-of-living adjustments to our retirement allowance is of great importance to all members of the PFRSNJ system. For those that have been retired for many years, the impact is even greater.
Before one looks at how to fix it, let’s make sure we have the facts. First, the new pension board was not the one to suspend COLA, that was done under the Christie administration.
In fact, the NJ FMBA fought vehemently against Chapter 78 and the suspension of COLA. To sum up the lawsuit, the Supreme Court ruled - we have a non-forfeitable right to a pension but do not have that same non-forfeitable right to fund the pension. Crazy, right?! We can discuss that in another article! This was one of the main reasons the NJ FMBA, with the NJSPBA, fought to pass monumental pension legislation to take back the control and governance of our pension and give us the ability to address COLA restoration.
Spring has sprung, and after what may have been the worst year any of us has ever seen, there are many reasons that the remainder of 2021 and beyond will be better times. COVID related illnesses are decreasing, businesses are reopening, and warmer weather is finally here.
The NJ FMBA Legislative Committee is pleased to announce that the Governor has signed 20 and Out bill for New Jersey Firefighters and Police Officers. This retirement option for PFRS members is long overdue, and has been a legislative priority. The Coronavirus pandemic has added an enormous layer of danger to a profession that routinely encounters physical trauma, air and blood borne pathogens, myriad carcinogens, and many potential bacterial and viral sicknesses.
The Investment Committee met in late March to review Division of Investment (DOI) performance and assess three potential investments which were being presented to the State Investment Council. At the April Board Meeting, the Board passed two resolutions; One resolution directed the DOI to formalize the asset transfer into dedicated PFRS Accounts, and the other resolution authorizes the DOI to invest system assets in accordance with the prior approved asset allocation plan. These are both very significant resolutions as the Board is preparing to formalize the asset transfer process, which has been in the works for many months.
The past year has been trying for NJ FMBA members and their families. Penn Medicine Princeton House First Responder Treatment team will host a confidential virtual support group beginning on or about April 20 called “Too Strong for Too Long.” At the end of the six-week group, we’ll launch a virtual group for family members designed to address issues and concerns that specifically affect your families. Our intention is to provide a confidential setting that will be open to questions and specific topics relevant to the work you do.