Nominations for PFRSNJ Trustee Reps certified by PFRSNJ Board

As the new State Fiscal year begins, the PFRSNJ Board conducts formal reorganization at the July meeting. Ed Donnelly was once again voted as Chairman of the Board in a unanimous  vote. This provides continuity of leadership during a crucial stage of the formal transfer process with the State Treasurer and Division of Investment. The Chair, Executive Director, and Chief Financial Officer provided a public update on the transition negotiation process. Substantial progress has been made in terms of finalizing a memorandum of understanding with the State on a number of discussion points. With the progress towards formal transfer, Board and Management attention is now centering on ensuring the PFRS ability to receive the fund assets.

This involves ensuring the proper investment, accounting, reporting, and oversight mechanisms are in place and functional. To further this regard, the Executive Director proposed a near and long-term staffing plan which reflects this vision from a staffing perspective. This plan also factors in the existing consulting relationships, which are an important extension of staff particularly in the investment and accounting functions. The Board also took action to delegate authority to the Executive Director in negotiating further office space agreements for our Trenton Headquarters, reflective of the expansion of the PFRSNJ team. The CFO/Acting CIO also provided an update on recent NJ Division of Investment performance. For the period ending May 31st, the DOI portfolio returned 1.73 percent on a one-year basis.

This figure does not reflect negative market returns in the month of June, thus the full FY2022 investment returns are likely to be negative. It is important to note that the 3 year and 5 year annualized returns are about 8.5 and 8.3 percent, respectively. These returns are more indicative of the long-term investment performance of the underlying investment portfolio. 

The CFO also recommended that the Board approve an engagement letter with KPMG for the FY2022 audit and annual financial report preparation. The Board took action to approve this engagement.

The PFRS Director of Legal Affairs provided an update on developments in the Legal office since the prior meeting. The Legal Affairs team is currently managing over 200 cases, including 182 cases in the OAL, 24 in the Appellate Division, one case before the NJ Supreme Court and one case before the U.S. District Court for the District of NJ. In addition, the Legal Affairs team provided counsel and advice on contract engagements with our alternative asset class consultant, and coordinated drafting and reviews of limited partnership agreements for the alternative investment portfolio. The office is also handling review of Public Records Act requests pertaining to PFRS records.

Nomination results for Active Fire Representative and Retiree Representative were also presented to and certified by the Board. The Active Fire nomination period closed with this writer as the sole candidate attaining the requisite number of nominations, thus there will be no formal balloting. Three candidates attained the nomination threshold for retiree representative, thus there will be a retiree election this upcoming fall. The new, four-year terms for both positions begin on February 1st, 2023.

Retirement List: A total of 113 retirements were approved; 102 special retirements, 10 service retirements and one deferred retirement.

Ordinary Disability: The Board reviewed four Ordinary Disability applications, approving OD benefits in three and approving a return to employment in one matter.

Accidental Disability: The Board reviewed 15 accidental disability applications, approving 12, denying A.D. but granting O.D. in 1, denying request to process application in 1, and tabling 1 matter.

Retirement Issues: The Board reviewed two retirement matters, taking action to approve a credible compensation request in one matter and imposing a total forfeiture of benefits under enumerated offense statute in another matter.

Active Member Issues: The Board considered and approved 4 requests to purchase service credit, most of which pertained to a special class of Department of Corrections Officers.”

Court Decisions/ Legal Matters:  The Board received notices of decisions, taking action to Adopt 2 initial decisions and adopt with modifications 1 initial decision from the Office of Administrative Law.

Hearing Requests and Other Matters: The Board granted 7 hearing requests appealing the denial of A.D. benefits. The Board reviewed and noted an Appellate Decision pertaining to a PERS matter. The Board also reviewed Trial Balance Statements and Group Term Life Benefit Claims statements and DOI Common Fund E and D statements.

New Jersey Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association