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Firefighters from Rochelle Park, Maywood, and Hackensack free a driver who was trapped in his Car following a multi vehicle crash on Route 17 north in Rochelle Park

photo curtesy of Boyd Loving’s Facebook page

Rochelle Park NJ, Firefighters from Rochelle Park, Maywood, and Hackensack worked in unison to free an adult male driver who was entrapped in his Toyota Corolla following a multi vehicle crash on Route 17 northbound in Rochelle Park on Tuesday afternoon, 11/06. Route 17 northbound was closed in the immediate area while emergency personnel aided crash victims, contained crash related fluid spills, and cleared the roadway of wreckage.

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Municipal Workers Who Volunteer as Firefighters or EMS face Delay of Pension Benefits

Paramus firefighters battle a smokey blaze at the Denny Wiggers Garden Center

file photo by Boyd Loving

January 5,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton NJ,  Many firefighters, emergency medical technicians and other volunteer first responders in New Jersey are being told to leave their posts for six months.

Many volunteer first responders come from the ranks of the local town employees .

The State of New Jersey is saying that  technically these volunteers hold two positions and must terminate from both positions in order to qualify for retirement benefits, when they retire .

State law says there must be a six-month separation of service from the town  retires from before he can receive any compensation from the town again or else he puts his pension in jeopardy.

State Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi (R-Westwood) said many towns rely heavily on volunteer services. Thus, she introduced a bill two years ago that would get rid of the six-month separation for firefighters.

“Went through committee unanimously; went through the entire senate unanimously,” Schepisi said.

The problem is that the bill has not been put up for a final vote in the assembly. If it is not voted on by this week, it expires.

Only Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Secaucus) can bring the bill up for a vote. Schepisi said he assured her it would move forward, but so far, it has not

Assemblywomen Holly Schepisi , “For my NJ friends please call your state assembly representatives and ask them to get Assembly Bill A-536 posted for a vote by Speaker Vincent Prieto on Monday. Our volunteer firefighters and EMS face losing their pensions if they continue to volunteer after retirement from a State, school or municipal job. My bill fixes this absurd requirement but time is running out.”

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Pension fund may soon be turned over to police, firefighters

Village Council Meeting

By Samantha Marcus | NJ Advance Media for
on March 15, 2017 at 8:10 AM, updated March 15, 2017 at 4:46 PM

TRENTON — The state Senate has passed legislation that would give police and firefighters the right to manage their pension fund and its investment portfolio.

Under the bill, passed 37-0 on Monday, a newly expanded board of trustees would assume management of the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System, which has more than 85,000 members who are working or retired. The police and fire unions would also obtain broad discretion over both the size of members retirement benefits and the contributions needed to support them.

The State Investment Council currently directs the investments of the nearly $72 billion in assets belonging to seven pension funds, and the Division of Pensions and Benefits manages the system itself.

“Giving management to the pension beneficiaries removes political interest from the investments and places greater responsibility with the employees who will benefit from the pensions,” said Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester), who sponsored the bill. “It’s a matter of enlightened self-interest for people who have skin in the game.”

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Pension fury: N.J. cops, firefighters just rose up against Christie

Senate President Sweeney_theridgewoodblog

By Claude Brodesser-Akner | NJ Advance Media for

on February 28, 2017 at 9:45 AM, updated February 28, 2017 at 10:46 AM

TRENTON — Furious after watching pension investment fees triple over the last three years even as their funds lost value, police and firefighter union leaders are seeking to wrest control of their underfunded pensions from the state.

As Gov. Chris Christie is set to deliver his final budget address, state Senate President Sweeney (D-Gloucester) on Monday introduced a bill (S3040) that would transfer management of the Police and Firefighters Retirement System to a newly expanded board of trustees.

“They’ve been screwing up pensions for decades now,” Ed Donnelly, president of the New Jersey State Firefighters’ Mutual Benevolent Association told NJ Advance Media, referring to the $11 billion that the state has yet to pay into his retirement system.

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Investment gains for N.J.’s pension fund fell sharply last fiscal year


JANUARY 27, 2016, 6:44 PM    LAST UPDATED: WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 27, 2016, 8:26 PM

Investment gains for New Jersey’s $79 billion pension fund fell sharply in the fiscal year that ended June 30, and those pension investments are in negative territory so far this year, state officials reported Wednesday.

Christie administration officials and the State Investment Council had acknowledged in July that, with 11 months of data, the pension fund was likely to see a sharp drop in its rate of return for fiscal year 2015. Now, with all 12 months of data, the state announced that it achieved investment gains of 4.16 percent, a tumble from 16.87 percent in the previous year.

New Jersey’s pension fund is the 17th largest in the country and 33rd largest worldwide – investing in everything from real estate, private equity, commodities, stocks, hedge funds and more. Nearly 780,000 public workers and retirees are beneficiaries of the pension system, meaning they depend on the success of those investments.

The state Supreme Court has said that public workers are entitled to their pension checks “when due.” If the money does not come from investment gains, it would have to come from state taxpayers or public workers.

The fund’s performance is in negative territory so far this fiscal year, down 3 percent for the July-through-December period, officials added.

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Ridgewood Firefighters Sue fire truck, siren makers over ‘irreversible’ hearing loss

N.J. firefighters suing fire truck, siren makers over ‘irreversible’ hearing loss

By Craig McCarthy | NJ Advance Media for
on December 08, 2015 at 8:47 AM, updated December 08, 2015 at 5:00 PM

Bayonne Fire Department fire truck leaves the firehouse on Avenue C by City Hall.Jersey Journal file photo

More than two dozen New Jersey firefighters are suing five fire truck manufacturers and a siren maker alleging the noise from the emergency vehicles’ sirens have lead to an “irreversible” loss of hearing.

The lawsuit was removed from state Superior Court and filed in federal court in Newark on Dec. 4 on behalf of 34 current or former firefighters in Elizabeth, Linden, Bayonne, Union, Ridgewood, Kearny, Cranford and West New York. The suit names American LaFrance LLC, Kovatch Mobile Equipments Corp., Mack Trucks Inc., Pierce Manufacturing Inc. and Seagrave Fire Apparatus LLC, as well as the siren maker Federal Signal Corp.

The lawsuit alleges the firefighters, who were each employed by the departments for decades, “have suffered irreversible hearing loss and a permanent decrease of their hearing” making them unable “to enjoy life’s pleasures.”

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Christie vetoes bill that would have loosened limits on police, firefighter raises


file photo by Boyd Loving

Christie vetoes bill that would have loosened limits on police, firefighter raises

Governor Christie vetoed a bill that would have loosened limits on how much local police and firefighters can be given in annual raises Thursday, setting up a yet to be scheduled final vote in the Assembly.

In 2010, a 2 percent limit on tax levy increases was passed. Beginning in 2011, local police and fire unions were also limited to 2 percent raises when they entered into the state’s binding arbitration process – a mechanism that occurs when the union and towns can not agree on a contract. This limit was put in place so government services wouldn’t have to be cut for towns to comply with the 2 percent tax cap.

The current arbitration limit will expire on April 1 and the legislature has been scrambling to extend it in some form – Republicans want a permanent hard cap while Democrats proposed a bill with some exceptions.

Today, both the Assembly and Senate approved the Democrats’ plan before it was conditionally vetoed by Governor Christie. This plan would have increased raises to 3 percent if the union had provided the town with savings on items like health benefits. In addition, it would have allowed unions who were subject to the 2 percent cap since 2011 to be immune from the new law’s limitations – Republicans argue this would have defanged the central point of the legislation. (Phillis/The Record)