Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google Plus RSS

State GOP calls for more non-union oversight of police and fire pension plan

By ,
GOP Assemblymen Ned Thomson, left, and Jon Bramnick explain why more non-union oversight is needed for the state's Police and Fire Retirement System.
GOP Assemblymen Ned Thomson, left, and Jon Bramnick explain why more non-union oversight is needed for the state's Police and Fire Retirement System.

Assembly Republican leaders have introduced a bill that if passed would require the state’s Police and Firefighter Retirement System to appoint three non-union board members, with super-majority approval needed for any increase to employees’ pension and health benefits.

Assembly Republican leaders have introduced a bill that if passed would require the state’s Police and Firefighter Retirement System to appoint three non-union board members, with super-majority approval needed for any increase to employees’ pension and health benefits.

The bill, designated A3414, is sponsored by state Assemblymen Jon Bramnick, R – 21st District, and Ned Thomson, R – 30th District.

The measure was introduced as a way to curb future pension costs amid concerns about underfunding of the state pension plan. The bill also would forbid the plan to be less than 80 percent funded at any time.

“If police and firefighters are allowed to manage their pensions, safeguards must be put in place or the system could go down fast,” Bramnick said during a Feb. 15 presentation in Trenton. “We know that in the state of New Jersey one of the most serious problems involving debt is underfunding of the pensions.”

Said Thomson: “There is somewhat of a conflict when members are controlling their own benefits. There are prudent fiduciary responsibilities that are put on any board of trustees. This will be the only board of trustees, however, in the State of New Jersey that actually controls its benefits and its contributions to membership.”

A report recommended earlier this month recommended that the state convert its $73 billion pension plan to a cash balance plan, a type of defined benefit plan that sets up individual accounts for its members based on annual salary and contributions, much like a 401(k) plan. The plan could save the system money, as it is currently 60 percent underfunded.

That idea however, was shot down by Thomson during the presentation.

“That would be a disaster for retirees,” he said. “There simply isn’t a political will to do that.”

Earlier this month, The New Jersey Association of Counties and the New Jersey State League of Municipalities also urged the state Congress to increase the state’s Police and Fire pension plan to include non-union representation on its board. The two groups pointed out that 73 percent of the pension plan’s retirement payouts will be funded by tax payers this year, while only 27 percent will come from member contributions.

You May Have Missed...

Vince Calio

Vince Calio


Vince Calio covers health care and manufacturing for NJBIZ. You can contact him at vcalio@njbiz.com.

Leave a Comment

test

Please note: All comments will be reviewed and may take up to 24 hours to appear on the site.

Post Comment
View Comment Policy

Comments

Tough Love February 16, 2018 11:56 pm

Quoting ............

"Said Thomson: “There is somewhat of a conflict when members are controlling their own benefits. There are prudent fiduciary responsibilities that are put on any board of trustees. This will be the only board of trustees, however, in the State of New Jersey that actually controls its benefits and its contributions to membership.”"

The words "somewhat of a conflict" is putting it mildly.

Giving the Police Unions the ability to increase their own member's pensions as well as decrease their own member's contributions .... when the TAXPAYERS are on the hook for the full promises and all costs not borne by the workers, is the definition of insanity.

It is akin to the WORKERS in a Corporation (NOT the Corporation's management or it's shareholders who OWN the company) being given the authority to set their the level of their own pensions with the Corporation on the hook to pay if it .... no matter how high the cost.

Any NJ Legislator that votes for this bill is betraying NJ's Taxpayers and should be thrown out of office. And too bad we can't jail them as well.

close