Association of Fire Fighters State Association
on the Front Line Protecting "New Jersey's Bravest"-- --Established 1929--
of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will endeavor to provide any needed information or address any concern in a
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What's New at the PFANJ:
Clocks to Change, So Should Smoke Detector Batteries
It’s that time of year again. Clocks will spring ahead one hour this weekend as daylight savings time begins and New Jersey fire officials are urging homeowners to change the batteries in their smoke detectors.
“Smoke detectors are essential in a private dwelling,” said Dominick Marino, president of the Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey. “The first chance an individual is going to have to get out of the house or the apartment is the alarm that sounds when there is smoke. It’s the first warning sign.”
LODD Captain Gregory Barnas
It is with Deep Regret that we Announce the LODD of Captain Gregory Barnas.
The Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey offers our sincere condolences to the Barnas family in their time of grief and offer our support during this most difficult time.
Captain Barnas is survived by his wife Patty and his sons Kevin and John. Kevin was recently appointed to the Jersey City Fire Department in June 2013, and John is an aspirant to the same profession to which his father had so honorably dedicated himself to.
* Kaplan University cannot guarantee employment or career advancement.
† Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey, on the Internet at www.bls.gov/emp/ep_chart_001.htm. Data are 2012 averages for persons age 25 and over. Earnings are for full-time wage and salary workers. National salary figures may not reflect local salary conditions and are not a guarantee of any particular salary.
‡ May not be combined with other Kaplan University scholarships, military tuition reductions, tuition vouchers, or other discounts.
§ Classes count toward a degree if satisfactorily completed. No credits are earned if the student withdraws during the introductory period (3 weeks for undergraduate students), which begins day one of the first term. Students who choose to continue their studies at the University will need to meet specific requirements. Graduate programs not included. Additional terms may apply to international and non-U.S. citizen students.
Update on Lawsuit on Health Care Cost and Final Compensation Determination 2/4/2014
To all members:
The following is an update on our lawsuit against the state with respect to P.L. 2010,c.2:
On January 31, 2014, the Appellate Division issued a decision in Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey, Teamsters Local 97, NJ Fraternal Order of Police, NJ State PBA, FMBA and the NJEA v. State of New Jersey, et. als. These cases challenged Judge Feinberg’s January 20, 2011 decision granting the State’s motion to dismiss the Complaints challenging the imposition of P.L. 2010 c.1,2 and 3; 1.5% contribution for Health Care, change in definition of final compensation for pension purposes
The Appellate Division affirmed the lower court’s decision and dismissed the Complaints.
Our next available avenue for appeal is to the New Jersey Supreme Court. The New Jersey Supreme Court only hears a small number of cases each year. It can, and does, refuse to hear most cases that are brought before it. We will be evaluating with Teamster Local 97 President, whether or not we should appeal to the New Jersey Supreme Court. We will keep you updated.
Update on COLA Court Case - 1/28/2014
Today James Mets ESQ. appeared as counsel for PFANJ in challenging the cessation of COLA before the Appellate Division in Berg v. State. Because of the large number of attorneys involved in this matter, the primary responsibility for presenting the argument rested on Kenneth Nowak of Zazzali Fagella and Ira Mintz of Weisman and Mintz. The parties agreed that presenting redundant arguments would only serve to annoy the Appellate Division Judges. In this regard, we intended to present only supplemental argument to what Mr. Mintz and Mr. Nowak presented if necessary.
The Judges made it very clear at the argument today that after Mr. Mintz and Mr. Nowak argued on behalf of all the union plaintiffs, no additional argument was necessary or needed. Based on the demeanor of the judges and the fact that any argument we could have made would have been cumulative rather than supplemental, our attorney elected to rely on what was presented as well as what was contained in the briefs presented on behalf of all union plaintiffs. (Indeed, the Judges did get annoyed when an attorney for the interveners insisted on presenting argument that was cumulative and cut off the argument rather quickly.)
The Judges were very interested in our arguments regarding whether the elimination of the COLA by Chapter 78 violates the Contracts Clause of the Federal and State Constitutions. This issue was never addressed at the trial court level, because the trial court Judge decided the case on other constitutional grounds. It is the attorneys’ opinion that based on the Judges questioning and interest in this issue, it is likely for the Judges to issue a decision remanding this matter back to the trial court for consideration of the Contracts Clause issue.
In addition, the Court requested that the parties submit supplemental briefs regarding the issue of whether or not the COLA amendments of 1997 have any relationship to the Internal Revenue Code. Our attorney will submit a brief on behalf of the PFANJ and Teamsters Local 97 (President John Gerow). Our brief is due two weeks from today. The State’s opposition brief is due two weeks from the day our brief is due. While our attorney cannot predict, it is his hope that the Appellate Division issues a quick decision after it receives the supplemental briefs.
January 14, 2014
To all PFANJ Members,
If you were not able to watch or listen to the Governors state of the state address today, here are the bullet points that affect you and your family.
Not allowing Interest Arbitration Reform to Sunset this April.
Shared Services and Consolidation Reforms
Civil Service Reforms
Eliminate Sick Leave Payout
Pension Disability Reform
No User Fee's
Skip Payment to Pension System
Additional Pension Reform
It is obvious from his speech, demeanor and his tone that he has no intention of letting up on his attacks on public servants. The fact that he continues to attack your pensions and earned compensation to balance the state budget is disgusting. Even though he signed into law legislation that requires his administration to make specific pension payments, he has the nerve to say that he doesn’t want to make the payment so he can fund other programs. The battle lines are definitely clear. Enough is enough. You have done your part, you have seen your pension payments raised and your paychecks and compensation reduced. We will not sit back and allow this governor to demonize and attack our members and our profession without a fight. We have always negotiated fairly. He has never negotiated fairly! Shortly we will be meeting with legislative leadership and they will be told that the line in the sand that the Governor has drawn is it. They need to stand up for you and your family, the working middle class now and tell this governor that he is wrong and not allow him to continue in the manor he is. As things progress or digress, it will be posted on our website and Facebook page and emailed.
Dominick Marino, President
Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey
Professional Firefighters Association of
New Jersey State Fraternal
Dominick Marino President
Edward R. Brannigan President
January 14, 2014
In a collaborative lobbying effort by the New Jersey Fraternal Order of Police and the Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey, families of fallen police officers, firefighters, emergency medical responders and correctional officers will receive some assistance to help cover funeral costs. On January 13, 2014, Governor Chris Christie signed Senate bill 512/Assembly bill1399 into law which takes effect immediately. Funeral reimbursement will be up to $10,000.
Both NJFOP and PFANJ thank our bill sponsors Senators Donald Norcross and Fred Madden along with Assemblyman Gilbert "Whip" L. Wilson for pushing this legislation that gives our members' families some relief during a very tragic time in their lives.
NJFOP President Ed Brannigan says, "This is long overdue for the brave men and women in public safety who lay down their lives and make the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty."
He continues, "There is no speech or ceremony that can ease the pain of a lost one. This is only a small token that will reduce the burden placed on the survivors."
PFANJ President Dominick Marino points out, "As firefighters and emergency medical workers, we go to work to protect and serve the citizens of New Jersey. Each and every time we leave our families to go to work, there is always the possibility that we may not return."
Marino says, "The very knowledge that funeral expenses would not be a burden on the widow and the family would give them some solace."
This new law passed both houses of the Legislature with bi-partisan support.
Professional Firefighters Association
of New Jersey, I.A.F.F. - AFL-CIO www.pfanj.org
Edward R. Brannigan,
Fraternal Order of Police -
New Jersey State Lodge www.njfop.org
Wilson, Singleton, Coughlin & Riley Bill to Pay Funeral Expenses for Public Safety Personnel Lost on the Line of Duty Now Law
(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Gilbert "Whip" L. Wilson, Troy Singleton, Craig J. Coughlin and Celeste M. Riley that would make funeral payments for public safety personnel has been signed into law.
The law (A-1399) authorizes a state contribution to the funeral expenses of police officers, firefighters, first aid, ambulance and rescue squad members, and correctional officers whose lives are lost in the line of duty.
The sponsors note the intention of the law is to provide a token of public appreciation to the survivors of the brave men and women who risk their lives daily to protect the residents of the State.
"These are our first responders and heroes in times of crisis. Extending support to their families in the greatest time of need is the right thing to do to honor their dedication to our communities," said Wilson (D-Camden, Gloucester).
"Our public safety personnel are called upon to handle some of the toughest situations we could ever imagine. It is only fitting to honor their service by easing some of the burden for their families if anything happens to them while on duty," said Singleton (D-Burlington).
"These are individuals who place their lives on the line every day. This law extends a small token of appreciation to those who selflessly serve and protect our communities," said Coughlin (D-Middlesex).
"We have seen them in action during Hurricane Sandy and other moments where we were in need of their skills. They are our communities' heroes and deserve this gesture for their daily sacrifice," said Riley (D-Cumberland, Gloucester, Salem).
Under the law's provisions, the state treasurer is required to reimburse the actual funeral expenses of these public safety officers in an amount not to exceed $10,000. The law provides that the reimbursement would be reduced by any amount payable for funeral expenses from worker's compensation.
Gov. Chris Christie's Office Knew What Was Coming In GWB Traffic Controversy, Emails Show
A series of private emails between a top aide to Gov. Chris Christie and a political appointee at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey shows the governor’s office was well aware of a plan to abruptly shut down several lanes at the George Washington Bridge in September, and then went into damage control mode as massive traffic jams turned into a political bombshell.
Statement from Senator Barbara Buono on New Revelations in George Washington Bridge Scandal Senator Barbara Buono released the following statement on the new revelations in George Washington Bridge scandal: "Right now, we have no idea how far this scandal goes. The Governor has created a culture where cavalierly endangering citizens' lives to exact political retribution is an acceptable form of governance. It's beneath the dignity of his office and a breach of New Jerseyans' trust.
"Everyone who had knowledge of the closing should be terminated immediately and the Department of Justice should conduct a thorough investigation to determine whether other towns in New Jersey suffered because the Governor wanted to get revenge."
January 10, 2014
We have published the first in a series of summary "primers" on how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) affects IAFF members.
Over the coming weeks and months, we will continue to provide communications, reference materials, tools and support to our affiliates and members, explaining in detail the provisions of the new law and how they affect our members.
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.
The City of Brigantine NJ has a serious union issue now.
The City is planning to not replace retired firefighters and will not be hiring any new EMT/ Firefighters.
You may see advertised statewide that the City is offering part time per diem
These jobs would be in direct conflict with our union work.
The Jobs offer no Health Benefits, No Pension, and no Job Security. There are plenty of cities that hire Firefighter/EMTs legitimately and with benefits and there are many areas where these types of opportunities are available with no conflict to our union work.
The PFANJ and it's Executive Board are requesting that no PFANJ member, family member, or PFANJ supporter seek employment with the City of Brigantine or any city for that matter who attempt to cut firefighter positions with part-time per diem employees.
Please help us protect our Brother and Sister's jobs in Brigantine and statewide.
Please pass this message to as many friends and family as possible.
November 18, 2013
From the beginning of the national debate on healthcare reform, the IAFF has been very clear about our position -- do no harm to our members, the fire fighters and paramedics who protect communities throughout this nation daily and when disaster strikes.
And from the beginning of the debate over what should and shouldn’t be in the new healthcare law, we made our position very clear to our members, to other unions, and to members of Congress from both parties, and we made our position very clear to the Obama administration – over and over again. WATCH VIDEO
Ultimately, after just about every segment of the population, industry, corporation and interest group in this entire country weighed in on the bill, in March of 2010, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) -- also known as Obamacare -- was passed and signed into law.
The law is massive, cumbersome, complex and very confusing.
On one hand, it’s important to note that the law has some elements that are good and important for our members – your coverage can’t be dropped when you or a member of your family is sick; insurance must cover the full cost of preventive care, including annual physicals and immunizations; you can’t be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions; your children can stay on your plan until the age of 26, if needed; and there are no lifetime limits on benefits, among other things. These are all positive improvements for the healthcare of all consumers, including IAFF members and their families.
However, as everyone knows, there are also considerable, structural and long-term problems with Obamacare that extend well beyond the epic failure of the launch of the federal healthcare exchange web site.
Because the law was passed in such a dramatic, high profile and partisan fashion – supported by Democrats, while Republicans voiced loud opposition – there are a lot of half-truths, much misinformation and some outright lies being spouted by the talking heads on both sides of the issue.
To be clear and on the record once again, here’s where the IAFF stands on the elements of the ACA that we know will most affect our members’ healthcare today and going forward.
First, the promise President Obama made to the American people that, “if you like your healthcare you can keep it,” is not true.
In addition, while the president claimed during his press conference on November 14 that when he made that declaration he was thinking about the 95 percent of people who are covered by employer-based insurance plans (like most union members) and those with Medicare, the problem is that it is not true for those groups, either.
While many pundits claim that only those with substandard coverage are losing their health insurance, the truth is that certain provisions of the ACA will impact the plan design and, ultimately, the survival of high-quality employer sponsored and union negotiated plans – including many of our members’ plans.
Clearly, the new law will force changes in virtually every insurance plan on the market today – whether you hold an individual policy or are in a group plan like most IAFF members. Things are going to change. The only questions that remain to be answered fully are: How much change will there be? When will the changes occur? And how much will the changes help or hurt our members?
Because of the dramatic effects of the law, many IAFF members can expect insurance carriers to notify you of changes in your policies, including span of coverage, benefits offered within the plans and the amount of out-of-pocket costs you will pay. Some of these changes will have to be negotiated with your local, particularly in jurisdictions where healthcare is a subject of bargaining. But in many cases, members can just expect to be notified by insurance carriers or employers of increases in costs and changes to benefits.
The IAFF is working with a coalition in labor, with other stakeholders and with our friends in Congress to amend the law to eliminate or lessen the negative effects of the ACA on your healthcare plans.
The most dramatic and long range threat is the excise or “Cadillac” tax that will impose a 40 percent tax on high value plans beginning in 2018. This excise tax will apply to plans that charge premiums of $10,200 or more for single coverage or $27,500 or more for families. The tax will apply to amounts in excess of the thresholds. The tax will be imposed on the insurance companies that sell the plans, rather than on the plan participants. However, we expect that insurers will simply either stop offering high-quality plans, causing a reduction in benefits, or they will pass the cost on to our members.
The law also creates many problems for our self-funded/union-administered plans going forward, which will affect our members and their benefits. Your union remains at the forefront in trying to significantly change or repeal these portions of the law to protect your interests. Over the coming months and years, we will need to engage our grassroots network and communications efforts to win these battles.
The IAFF continues to believe that reform of the healthcare system in the United States is necessary to control the rising costs that plagued our members even prior to passage of the ACA. However, we promise to continue fighting on your behalf to fix the many problems that exist in the current law.
Over the coming weeks and months, the IAFF will be providing extensive communication, reference materials, tools and support to our affiliates and members, explaining in detail the provisions of the new law and help you develop and implement strategies for dealing with the ACA in bargaining or when talking with local decision makers, because there are many ways we can work to mitigate the negative effects that the new law will bring.
Stay tuned to www.iaff.org and watch your email for future updates.
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.
Page fourteen of the Prescription Drug Handbook has a chart of those preventative medications that are now provided without co-payment.
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
Some of you may or may not have been aware that there was a “public” hearing yesterday at the Civil Service Commission. This hearing was to take testimony on the proposed CSC rule change to “band” job titles together. What this would mean is that related job titles throughout State, County and Municipal government will be placed into “broad bands”. Instead of promotions, management would select who would “advance” in title through the broad bands.
The 96 page proposal is not a clear definitive document. There are many questions that need to be answered and resolved prior to this rule change going into effect.
On behalf of the PFANJ, I testified at the public hearing against this broad measure to circumvent the civil service testing process. I went into this hearing prepared to ask specific questions to the commission with respect to this proposal and how it would affect firefighters, EMS and police officers. Unfortunately, there were NO members of the Commission present. There was just a hearing officer and a tape recorder. The hearing officer was just there to hear the testimony and was not there to answer ANY questions.
For the CSC to hold only ONE public hearing in a very small room, at 3pm on a work day and with no member of the commission present tells us that this hearing was just a formality, a sham and the CSC does not appear to be concerned nor willing to discuss the proposal with the unions.
Subsequently I have learned that the CSC commissioner has stated, in writing, that the “banding” will not affect every title, and it will NOT affect fire and police titles.
Although the titles in fire and police are not affected, at this time, we will be very much involved in the process with our brothers and sisters from the other unions who are going to be adversely affected.
Dominick Marino, President
Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey
April 10, 2013 –Results were released today of a new federal government study conducted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) that scientifically documents the effects of crew size in responding to fires in high-rise buildings.
Information and materials are now available online to help affiliates better understand the study and potential ways to use it with local press and decision makers based on their jurisdiction and situation. The toolkit includes sample press releases and sample op-ed that can be modified/customized to submit to local newspapers, radio stations and television stations.
Whether your jurisdiction is contemplating cuts to crew sizes or you need additional evidence to document why crew sizes need to be increased for public safety and fire fighter safety, this groundbreaking study is an invaluable resource for IAFF affiliates to use to educate policy and decision makers about why having too few fire fighters on each apparatus can cost lives and property in high-rise building fires.
Additional information, including a video description of this landmark high-rise fire study is available here.
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
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
To All IAFF Local Leaders:
Contact Information for IAFF 1st District Vice
(631) 893-9116 (Office)
(917) 834-1414 (Cell) email@example.com
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. Financial Balance From Our Corporate Partner - C & A Financial Group
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.
here for a downloadable and printable IAFF document
and Demonstration of Interest"
for those individuals wishing to learn
and affiliate with the International Association of Fire Fighters...
Kindly fill out the form and then mail it to the
State Association Office