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The PFANJ Plug - June 12, 2017
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International Association of Fire Fighters State Association

--Always on the Front Line Protecting "New Jersey's Bravest"--
--Established 1929--

Member of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO

Welcome to the home page of the Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey, proudly representing the interests and concerns of New Jersey's Bravest and their loved ones.

We encourage our membership to periodically, if not several times daily, review the contents of this web site and it's various departments, in order to remain up to date and conversant on the issues facing our profession in the 21st century.

In the event you need more specific or additional information, we further encourage you to submit your inquiry or commentary via e-mail to pfanj@pfanj.org. We will endeavor to provide any needed information or address any concern in a timely manner.



Make Your Voice Heard:

What's New at the PFANJ:

The PFANJ extends its prayers and deepest sympathies to the Atlantic City Fire Department and members of Atlantic City Professional Firefighters Local 198 upon hearing of the tragic passing of ACFD Firefighter Albert Mallen.

Further information will be shared via this page as it is made available from the ACFD.


All You Need To Know About N.J.'s Budget Drama. And Will It Spur A Government Shutdown?

New Jersey's leaders have only a few days left to finalize a state budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 — the final budget of Gov. Chris Christie's tenure.

But things haven't been going well lately.

The Republican governor and Democrats who control the state Legislature have been discussing a complex three-way deal in negotiations over the $35.5 billion budget. But as last week came to an end, the sides were stuck in a dramatic stalemate. 

And if they don't reach an agreement soon, all of this could lead to the first state government shutdown since 2006 — and only the second in Garden State history.


 Christie's Gamble: Transfer Lottery To Troubled Pension System

Gov. Christie, who rose to national prominence years ago after declaring he had fixed New Jersey’s retirement plans, is taking one last shot at shoring up the state’s underfunded pension system before leaving office in January.

He wants to transfer the state lottery to the pension system, a move his administration says would immediately reduce the pension debt by $13.5 billion and provide a stable source of revenue for 30 years.


PFANJ and PEMSA - IAFF Local 4610 Supported Bill Sponsored By Senators Vitale And Sweeney Heads To Governor's Desk

Legislation sponsored by Senate Health Chairman Joseph F. Vitale and Senate President Steve Sweeney to establish a system to track and analyze EMS response to medical emergencies, including to residents suffering from an opioid overdose, was approved yesterday by both houses of the Legislature. The bill was sent to the governor's desk.

"Emergency responders are the first point of contact for many residents when they are suffering a medical emergency, and the care provided on site and upon arrival to the hospital is vital. Data tracking will help to improve the system of care in our state, allowing us to analyze EMS response to emergencies but also to provide real-time data to hospitals so that medical personnel are better prepared when a patient arrives," said Senator Vitale (D-Middlesex). "Additionally, as we work to address the opioid epidemic, this system can help to identify where overdoses are occurring, trends in the use of naloxone, and other information that can help improve our response and treatment of those suffering with addiction in our state."


See What Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian Says About His IAFF Mayor's Fire OPS Experience.


NFPA 1710 - The Industry Standard for Career Fire Departments


Some Rip Current Safety Tips...

WATCH: How to Escape a Rip Current — It Could Save Your Life



Healthy Living Tips From



Professional Firefighters Association
of New Jersey Endorses Phil Murphy for Governor

The Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey, IAFF, AFL-CIO, the statewide representative of career professional firefighters, emergency medical, and allied support services personnel has announced its endorsement of Phil Murphy for Governor of New Jersey.



Fire Fighters Union Says Pension Bill Veto Spares Damage to Police and Firemen’s Retirement System
For immediate release:  Monday, May 8, 2017

TRENTON – Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey President Dominick Marino issued this statement after Governor Chris Christie conditionally vetoed S3040 - “Transfer Management of PFRS to Board of Trustees of PFRS":

“This veto comes as no surprise to the PFANJ."

"The PFANJ believed that with a “tweak” of the SIC and the PFRS Board of Trustees we can accomplish what this bill tried to do without leaving the larger New Jersey state system."

“Working together with the next governor, legislators, other public safety representatives along with local, state and national experts, we will be able to find solutions that help to shore up our pension system so the benefits are there after fire fighters finish a career protecting our communities and citizens.”


The PFANJ, in Conjunction with our Law Enforcement Partners at the NJFOP, Strongly Oppose the NJFMBA/PBA Notion that the “Unions” Should be in Control of the Administration of the Fire and Police Pension System.

The defined-benefit pension is the single most important benefit a fire fighter and police officer have



The PFANJ & IAFF release video that takes in-depth look at the proposed legislation allowing the "Unions" to take over the New Jersey Police and Fireman's Retirement System (PFRS).


PFANJ Statement on Pension Legislation


PFANJ Sends Opposition Letter to All NJ Senators Regarding Senate Bill 3040 - "Transfers Management of PFRS to Board of Trustees of PFRS"


Contact Your Legislators

Don't Gamble on Safety AC

Atlantic City is visited by over 27 million people every year, but the city is protected by Fire and Police departments already strained by budget cuts. Now the bureaucrats in charge of the state takeover of Atlantic City are ready to impose even more drastic budget cuts that will reduce the Firefighter force from 225 to 125, the smallest firefighting force in the history of Atlantic City. The police force is facing a reduction to 250, losing over 100 officers since 2010. This would be the smallest police force in the City since gambling was legalized in the early 1970's. This reduction of first responder positions will result in unsafe staffing levels and longer response times, putting the lives of the residents and visitors to Atlantic City at risk.

Keep Atlantic City Safe




From the New Jersey AFL-CIO...

Christie Tells It Like He Wants It to Be

Gov. Christie didn’t let facts get in the way during this month’s State-of-the-State speech. While he devoted 11-and-a-half minutes to union bashing, the New Jersey AFL-CIO deconstructed the lies and “Tell It Like It Really Is” in just over a minute.


Chris Christie and His Lies!


The IAFF, along with the International Association of Fire Chiefs, Metropolitan Fire Chiefs, the Congressional Fire Services Institute and the International Fire Service Training Association, have updated and released the 3rd Edition of the Fire-Based EMS Toolkit.

Updates to the online toolkit include up-to-date information on Fire-Based Community Healthcare Providers (FBCHP) - or “communityparamedicine” - and a new section on responding to violence, including resources for active shooter response.





State Health Benefits Program Information (SHBP)

**UPDATED 10/25/2016**
For those Departments that are in the State Health Benefits Program:

We have been advised that open enrollment has been extended to November 11 for changes in plan options for the State Health Benefit Plan.

Medical Plan Summaries of Benefits and Coverage - Plan Year 2017

Percentage of Premium Calculators and Worksheets - Revised for the new medical plans and rates effective in Plan Year 2017.

Monthly Rates - For Plan Year 2017

Links to the NJ Division of Pensions and Benefits Health Benefits Handbooks may be found here

In the NJ Direct Handbook those preventative services which are mandated by the National Health Reform to be covered without co-payment are listed on pages 76, 77, and 81.

NJ State Health Benefits Mobile Phone Applications
Aetna, CIGNA, and Horizon have developed applications for the iPhone, smartphones, and other web-enabled mobile devices to provide State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) members with plan information "on the go."

Medco Health Solutions, Inc. has also developed the Medco Pharmacy mobile app for its Prescription Plan, now available at no cost on BlackBerry® and Android™ smartphones using the Verizon Wireless network.

CHAPTER 330 RETIREES

Chapter 330 Medical Plan Summaries of Benefits and Coverage - Plan Year 2017

Chapter 330 Monthly Rates - For Plan Year 2017

Retiree Dental Rates - For Plan Year 2017

SPECIAL NOTE FOR CHAPTER 330 RETIREES

Below is a link to the State Health Benefits Website and a printable change form.

Chapter 330 Coverage Change Form
http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/epbam/exhibits/pdf/hr0809.pdf

Link to State Health Benefits Website
http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/

New program for those in the SHBP & SEHBP - Direct Primary Care is Here! R-Health Up and Running Now

Direct Primary Care-- We Need Your Help to Build It    
Direct Primary Care is here.

One provider of Direct Primary Care services, R-Health, signed a contract with Horizon earlier this month and has been signing up members for two weeks.

A second firm, Paladena Health, is expected to sign a contract with Horizon within weeks and will be opening doctor's offices by the Spring.  Paladena will operate in North Jersey and Mercer County.

For now, R-Health has three locations - Haddonfield, Moorestown, and Washington Crossing.   A brand new site, Ewing, will open in January.  

R-Health's information piece and update may be found HERE.

A quick reminder,  Direct Primary Care Medical Homes feature no co-pays, same day/next day appointments, 24/7 access to your doctor, and simply a lot more and better care.

Direct Primary Care is an union initiative for our members. Only we can make it succeed by informing and motivating our members.


Important Information on Supreme Court Health Care Decision

As many of you are aware, recently the Supreme Court handed down another landmark decision addressing the president’s controversial health care law known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In the case of King v. Burwell, the court was charged with determining if individuals purchasing health care through the federal exchange were permitted to receive tax subsidies.   Since the court’s ruling, we have received numerous questions regarding the impact of the ruling on our members and their health plans. Generally speaking, there is no immediate effect on IAFF members or their plans. To help our IAFF members to better understand the ruling, we have prepared the following supplemental materials:

Regardless how the Supreme Court ruled, we have a major concern over the portion of the ACA which imposes a 40 percent excise tax on high-cost health plans beginning in 2018. The IAFF has taken a leading role in a coalition of labor and corporate interests in trying to repeal the excise tax.  Current legislation (H.R. 2050) to repeal the tax has been introduced by Representative Joe Courtney (D-CT), a bipartisan bill with more than115 co-sponsors. We will continue our fight to repeal this provision of the ACA and work to ensure that the benefits our members and their families enjoy will not be diminished. I hope the information proves helpful.  As always, I appreciate your hard work and leadership.

Fraternally,

Harold A. Schaitberger
General President 



Grant Applicants: Get Bid Specifications Ready Early
Review your grant application's requirements and get your bid specifications ready now. If you receive an award, this early preparation will help you to implement your grant as soon as possible and help ensure you are able to complete your project within the period of performance.
1.

Start to draft a bid solicitation that encourages competition by not using proprietary vendor specifications. By avoiding the use of proprietary vendor specifications, you encourage competition, which may decrease your overall costs. For example, you can request bids for a new pumper and specify that it have an "independent front suspension." But specifying that the pumper have a particular name-brand independent front suspension would be a proprietary specification that would limit competition to those vendors that build trucks containing those particular items.

2.

Avoid any real or apparent conflicts of interest in your procurements. Remember that no employee, officer, or agent of your organization, who has a real or even apparent conflict of interest (potential for personal gain), may participate in the selection of the contractor or vendor that will supply the grant-funded items or services. They cannot accept gifts, favors, or anything of monetary value from potential contractors.

3. Maintain written procurement procedures. Become familiar with and keep on file the written procurement procedures and standards for your organization. If you are unsure, check with your local or state government for procedures. All grantees must have procurement procedures that follow local or state procurement procedures AND meet Federal procurement law as outlined in 44 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 13.36.
4.

Have a record system set up for the grant. Make sure that you have system established that will maintain your grant records accurately and securely while still being accessible. All Federal awards are subject to a possible audit or desk review.


Available for Download HERE for Apple and iPad Devices

Available for Download HERE for Android Devices


The Truth About Arbitration
Many politicians, local and state, want everyone to believe that binding arbitration is the reason local property taxes are high, when this simply is not true.  Not daunted by the truth, the Governor and his allies are pushing for changes to binding arbitration that will reduce public safety, that will end innovative and cooperative approaches and will not save money nor preserve public safety and it certainly will not reduce your property taxes.

The truth is that arbitration is rarely used in the firefighter world as approximately 10% of the firefighter contracts over the last five years have been arbitrated and not negotiated.   The truth is that binding arbitration exists because firefighters are not permitted by law to strike.  When management and the bargaining group cannot agree on a contract, they must resort to binding arbitration, which is expensive for both management and labor.  If these changes were instituted, more contracts would end in arbitration.  This would increase the cost to local taxpayers not decrease it. 

The push for these changes is a way to change the subject when the unpleasant truth is that the Governor is balancing the State’s budget on the backs of local property taxpayers by reducing aid to municipalities and school districts by more than $1.2 billion dollars in the current budget year.  These cuts, and not arbitration, will raise your taxes and reduce your safety and quality of life.


Planning for Your Healthcare
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a federal statute signed into law by President Obama in March 2010. 

The law is widely viewed as the most historic overhaul of the U.S. health care system since the inception of Medicare and Medicaid.

While the law’s primary goal is to increase the number of insured Americans, there are other provisions within the law that also have implications for IAFF members. 

In order to help IAFF members better understand the law the IAFF has developed a What You Need to Know About the Affordable Care Act online resource of information, including an overview of the Affordable Care Act, answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs), an educational video about the ACA, strategies on negotiating health care and links to both government and industry sources such Healthcare.gov, the AFL-CIO and the Kaiser Family Foundation.


Firemen Still Not in Christie's Corner
A recent news article entitled “From jeers to cheers: Gov. Christie suddenly applauded by N.J. firemen’s group,” that ran September 14 is deeply misleading. The story leads readers to believe that all firefighters support the governor. That is false.

Firefighters represented by the Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey strongly disagree with the governor’s agenda and his decisions because they threaten public safety.

The governor failed to take advantage of a federal grant program that would improve public safety and create jobs.

While the governor argues forcefully that he is doing what’s best for New Jersey residents, the reality is that he continues to do what’s best for himself, using his so-called reforms to promote himself on a national stage.

He also is spreading misinformation.

In his speech last week, the governor took credit for the improved funding level of the Police and Firemen Retirement System in New Jersey. But the reason the PFRS pension fund is doing better is because local municipalities are finally meeting their financial obligations and paying what they are required to pay into the system – just as the firefighters in this state have always done.

He also inferred that when the state pension funds reach 80 percent a state-established board of government officials and firefighters can vote to raise annual cost of living adjustments to pensions. While that’s technically possible – and would be a welcome change – it has not happened, and benefits won’t increase until harsh restrictions on the state board are loosened.

The governor shouldn't take credit for something he didn't’t do, but that hasn't’t stopped him in the past. Once again, the governor’s statements need careful fact-checking. Once again, his credibility has been damaged because he has climbed atop his bully pulpit to spread falsehoods.

He is not our state’s savior. He is merely a politician angling for his next job in public office – and he has a public employee pension, too.

Rather than constantly oppose public employees or hammer away at our rights and benefits, the governor should sit down with us to discuss public safety and the wages, rights and benefits of those sworn to protect communities throughout our state. But to this day the governor still has not met with the Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey.

And that’s no lie.

NJTV Interview with PFANJ President Marino -
October 2, 2012



To All IAFF Local Leaders:
Contact Information for IAFF 1st District Vice President James Slevin:

jslevin@iaff.org

Talking points with respect to S1913 and A3074:

The biggest point is that the legislature should reverse the Richardson Case from 2007. This case changed the criteria for what constitutes an accidental disability thus opening the door for a much easier avenue for members of a pension system to claim a job related disability.

If this were to be repealed, it would go a long way to correcting the issues with the disability pensions.

Other areas of issue:

1. A committee of 26 will not get anything done! Each system already has a board that oversees the system, there is no need to add an additional board.

2. Each system should be responsible for themselves. PERS should not be determining a disability pension for PFRS and likewise.

3. Any reference to Social Security Benefits must be removed, since Firefighters do not pay into social security therefore are not eligible to receive social security benefits.

4. Changing the eligibility years from 4 to 10 for an ordinary disability does a disservice to the firefighter workforce. If a member suffers an injury with prior to completing 10 years and it is not a traumatic injury that member would get no pension. Our profession puts us at harms way every time we go to work. The legislation should not change the number of years.

5. Reducing the disability pension of a firefighter who is no longer able to perform firefighting duties because he or she was able to supplement their income in other ways is disrespectful and unwarranted. It's a slap in the face to those dedicated firefighters who were injured while serving the public because this legislation would decrease their disability pension if they were to go out and get extra income to provide for their families.

6. The one size fits all about the legislation is wrong. A firefighter or EMS workers level of risk is much greater than a teacher or office worker. The Pension systems must be treated different and separate. If our job functions weren't different, there wouldn't be different systems.

To NJ PERC Constituents, Labor Relations Professionals and Interested Parties:
PERC has modified the Unfair Practice Charge Form, and asks parties to utilize the new form immediately.  The changes to the form include hyperlinks, space for a second respondent, and details about the status of negotiations, if any.   Additionally, the form seeks more specific information about matters at PERC or other forums that are based upon the same facts alleged in the charge.  We hope the new form will expedite processing of charges.

The form may be found at:
http://www.state.nj.us/perc/NJ_PERC_Unfair_Practice_Charge_2011.08.19.pdf

Breaking News:
  • Robbinsville Fire Dept. Awarded $22K Federal Grant

  • Cinnaminson Student Receives Scholarship In Honor Of Fallen Firefighter

  • State Starts Compulsory 56-Hour Workweek For Atlantic City Firefighters

  • What Planned Trump Budget Cuts Could Do To Urban Search And Rescue

  • Cardiac Issues Remain Leading Cause of On-duty FF Deaths

  • “Something We Need:” Firefighter Creates Compass To Prevent Disorientation At Fire Scenes

  • Government Unions in the Crosshairs: Two Suits Seek To Overturn 40-Year-Old Precedent Allowing For Forced Union Dues, Exclusive Representation For Government Employees

  • FY 2017 Spending Package Includes Funding for SAFER, FIRE Act

  • Legislation Aims To Extend Benefits To Federal Firefighters

  • Christie Is Considering More Pension Reform. Unions Are Surprised

  • Speaker Prieto & County Executive Tedesco Announce New Fire Safety Legislation for Multi-Unit Buildings

  • Bill to Save the SAFER and FIRE Act Grant Programs Introduced

  • Jersey Lawmakers Look To Dig The $135B Pension Hole Even Deeper

  • State Can Break Atlantic City Fire Contract, Judge Rules

  • High Court Upholds Minimum Staffing Decision For Allentown, PA Firefighters

  • Fire Fighter Cancer Registry Bill Reintroduced in 115th Congress

  • Firefighters and Cancer: Is a Risky Job Even Riskier?

  • Senate Bill No. 879 Signed into Law by Goverenor Christie

  • NJ Spotlight Round Table: Solving New Jersey's Public Pension Crisis

  • Why You Have Less Time to Escape a House Fire Today than 30 Years Ago

  • Saving a $100M a Year by Joining State Health Benefits Plan

  • Democratic Legislation Inspired by Recent Death of Cinnaminson Firefighter Gains Panel Approval

  • Death Of NJ Firefighter Inspires Push For Measure That Would Ensure Health Insurance Coverage For Families Of First Responders

  • What Chris Christie Didn't Tell N.J. About Pension Payments: Opinion

  • Opinion: Christie Broke Promises To Police, Firefighters, N.J. Voters

  • Time to Stop Bulling Police and Firefighters!

  • Memo from PFANJ Attorneys Mets Schiro & McGovern, LLP Regarding Challenges to P.L. 2010, c. 2 and P.L. 2011, c. 78

  • The Truth About Arbitration

  • The Unspoken Truth About Pensions

  • Trenton’s Un-Truth about Police and Fire Pensions

  • Christie Campaign Letter Promised 'No Harm' to Police, Firefighter Pensions

  • Gov. Christie Recants Campaign Promise of Not Altering N.J. Firefighters' Pensions

  • Attention Potential IAFF
    EMS Members!

    Click here for a downloadable and printable IAFF document
    "Showing and Demonstration of Interest"
    for those individuals wishing to learn more about
    and affiliate with the International Association of Fire Fighters...

    Kindly fill out the form and then mail it to the
    State Association Office ASAP!


    YOUR MEDIA...

    Professional Pension Benefit & Retirement Consultation
    for PFANJ Members
    Click Here
    for Information

    Upcoming Events:

    IAFF Fallen Firefighter Memorial
    September 16, 2017

    Colorado Springs, Colorado

    PFANJ State Delegate Meeting
    September 20, 2017
    (Tentative Date)

    Middlesex County Fire Academy
    1001 Fire Academy Drive Sayreville, NJ 08872

    PFANJ State Delegate Meeting
    October 11, 2017
    Middlesex County Fire Academy
    1001 Fire Academy Drive Sayreville, NJ 08872

    PFANJ State Delegate Meeting
    November 8, 2017
    Location - TBA

    PFANJ State Delegate Meeting
    December 13, 2017
    Middlesex County Fire Academy
    1001 Fire Academy Drive Sayreville, NJ 08872
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    The PFANJ Proudly Supports Our Troops

    PFANJ Members Serving in the Armed Forces

    Any Soldier, Inc.

     

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