Letters to the Editor

Police and Firefighters Must Manage their Own Pension Systems


The people of New Jersey need to hear the facts as to why Police and Fire labor leaders in New Jersey are pursuing a separation of the Police and Fire Retirement System (PFRS) from State control.

With all due respect to the current administration, and their predecessors, there has been much said that does not fit the facts and, unfortunately, little acceptance of responsibility for the current state of affairs. And, frankly, we are looking into being part of the solution rather that part of the problem which will benefit both our PFRS members as well as the taxpayers of New Jersey whom we protect.

First of all, let’s get all the cards on the table.  The State’s failure to meet its obligations and their willingness to give Local employers a pass through “pension holidays” created a shortfall in the PFRS system of more than $11.1 billion.  The State is on the hook for more than $2.7 billion and Local employers owe $8.373 billion.  And one wonders why the members want greater control?   Is it being suggested that the “transfer of full responsibility for the Plan (see Christie’s Pension Reform Commission recommendations) absolves the debtor of their obligations?

Sign Up for E-News

So what exactly does this PFRS Governance bill require?  Specifically, on page 16, the primary responsibility of the Trustees, acting in a fiduciary capacity, is to ensure the full funding of the Plan for the benefit of members and their beneficiaries.  Any suggestion that benefit enhancements will be granted willy nilly is ludicrous. And by the way, acting in a fiduciary concept will be a new concept in the State of New Jersey since neither the Governor, Treasurer or any of the administrators currently have that responsibility.

So what exactly does this bill do that is so onerous and which will place any more of a burden on the taxpayer than currently exists?

  • This bill provides for a Board to be appropriately trained in ethics (another alien concept in New Jersey) and investments;
  • This bill provides for the Trustees to be supported by a professional staff responsible to the Board, not the Treasurer or the administration;
  • This bill contains provisions for the Board to contract with the Division of Pensions, currently administering day to day activities, as well as the Division of Investments if the Board deems it appropriate to do so.  But the Board will also determine their investment policy which may be different  from the whims of the front office which has paid exorbitant fees for terrible returns;
  • The bill does nothing to change the obligations of the employer and will determine contribution requirements in the same way they are determined today
  • Frankly, this bill does far more to protect the interests of the participants and the taxpayers than anything Trenton has managed to do over the past 17 years.

The primary drivers of this legislation, which has been developed after two years studying similar plans across the country, are to minimize political interference which has created the staggering deficits the plan currently suffers under as the result of the failure of the Trenton politicians to meet their obligations, to maximize potential investment returns, again free from political interference, and to provide the members of both the PFRS and the employers supporting the system with confidence that the plan is being managed in the best interests of all.

Some have also referred to the “depressing history of public pension fund scandals and the need for constant vigilance”.  As they say, the fox guarding the hen house. Nothing is more scandalous than the way State Treasurer after Treasurer has been complicit in ignoring their obligations to fund pensions.

The proposed bill was not considered lightly.  The initiative to create a new governance model is a serious effort to address a serious problem created by the failure of the State to live up to its obligations to those who protect and serve the people of New Jersey.  Again, an alien concept for those who serve in the Administrations we have lived under for the past 17 years

Ed Donnelly is president of the New Jersey State Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association.


The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Happy St. Patrick's Day from TAPinto.net

March 17, 2018

TAPinto.net is a network of more than 70 franchised online local newspapers in New Jersey and New York with more than 7M readers during the last year. We provide original local news reporting 24/7 for the communities we serve, as well as a full-service events calendar, real estate listings, business directory, classifieds, and much, much more. Readers can receive FREE enews at ...

Bloomfield Rec Department To Hold Sendoff for Mac's Latest Journey

BLOOMFIELD, NJ-- Mac-Adley Hypolite, Jr., better known around town as 'Mac', is at it again. In his eternal search for a trail, path, road or highway to travel with his omnipresent bike, Mac is once again traveling from Bloomfield to Florida to raise money for Children's Specialized Hospital.  Although he's made the 1000 plus mile trip before, ...

Upcoming Events


Sat, March 17, 8:00 PM

Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts, Maplewood

Strollers' Present John Patrick Shanley's "Doubt"

Arts & Entertainment


Sun, March 18, 2:00 PM

Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts, Maplewood

Maplewood Strollers Present John Patrick ...

Arts & Entertainment


Mon, March 19, 7:00 PM

Hospital Auditorium, Glen Ridge

Tour of the Birthing Center

Health & Wellness


Tue, March 20, 7:00 PM

Montclair Public Library, Montclair

Martin Luther King, Newark, and the Cool Spring ...

Education Law & Justice Other


Wed, March 21, 6:00 PM

Montclair Public Library, Montclair

Financial Seminar

Business & Finance


Wed, March 21, 7:00 PM

Hospital Conference Room 2 (Ground Floor), Glen Ridge

Becoming a Parent

Health & Wellness

Bloomfield Police Blotter February 19 - 25, 2018

March 2, 2018

BLOOMFIELD, NJ - The following police blotter has been issued by Lt. Anthony Sisco of the Bloomfield Police Department.


2/19/18 – Officers dispatched to Modells (224 Bloomfield Ave) on a report of shoplifting. Complainant (Modells employee) observed an Unknown Black Male suspect place (2) “Nike” hooded sweatshirts and batting gloves (total value ...

Six-Year-Old Discovered Sleeping Unattended on West Orange School Bus

March 17, 2018

WEST ORANGE, NJ — When a bus driver employed by the Hunterdon County Educational Service Commission, which performs certain bus runs for the West Orange School District, failed to perform the mandatory inspection of his bus after dropping students off at Redwood Elementary School and returning to the bus depot on Friday morning, the district confirmed that a 6-year-old student had ...

Hundreds of Montclair Students Walk Out in Protest of Gun Violence

MONTCLAIR, NJ - All across the country, there were 17-minute protests, where students exited their classes at 10 a.m. in honor of the children recently shot in a Florida School. This was also in an effort to bring awareness about gun violence, and perhaps put some pressure on Congress to approve gun control legislation.

A recent school massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in ...

Rutgers Student on Front Lines of Orangutan Conservation, Research

March 17, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK - Deep in a tropical forest in Borneo 15 years ago, Rutgers student Didik Prasetyo first encountered a young male orangutan that he named “Jerry.”

The great ape was one of several orangutans that Prasetyo and other researchers followed at the Tuanan Orangutan Research Station in the Mawas Conservation Area in Indonesia. Prasetyo was skeptical when colleagues said ...

Fairytale Marriage Proposal Takes Center Stage at St. Patrick’s Day Parade

SOMERVILLE, NJ – A surprise engagement took center stage at last weekend’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Somerville. In the midst of the March 11 festivities, Piscataway resident Steven Verardi boarded a float and popped the question to his girlfriend Elise Latona, marking the first known engagement to take place at the parade in 27 years.

Since opening The Beauty Bar ...

Belmar’s Treasured Doughboy Statue Soon to Be Heading West for $18,000 Repair Project

March 11, 2018

BELMAR, NJ — Belmar’s beloved “Doughboy” will soon be leaving town.

The 88-year-old statue will be removed from its base in Memorial Field and transported about 45 minutes away westbound to the Seward Johnson Atelier in Hamilton, where it will be repaired — nearly a year after a fundraising campaign was launched to fund the effort.

Through a groundswell of ...

#Enough Nutley High School Walkout: By Students, for Students

March 16, 2018

To the Editor:

Disgusted by federal inaction, devastated by the Parkland shooting, and determined to see real change, students around the country walked out of class at 10 a.m. on March 14th, one month after the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Students of Nutley High School also protested, in solidarity with students from over 3000 other schools ...

Parkland What...Parkland Where...Parkland Wow!

Thinking of the 17 angels that lost their lives lost one month ago. Thinking of the injured that are still fighting to heal. Thinking of the #MSDSTRONGstudents, teachers and staff that had their innocence taken from them. Thinking of a community that draws strength from each other as we all try to move forward after the tragic events of Feb 14.

Parkland what...... Parkland where.......

Pro Staff Institute announces partnership with Uber Health

NUTLEY, NJ - Pro Staff Institute is proud to announce their participation in Uber Health, a new transportation program designed to provide transportation to patients. Pro Staff Institute is the first physical therapy center in the nation to leverage Uber Health, and joins over other 100 health care organizations in the U.S., including hospitals, clinics, rehab centers and senior care ...

The Negative Effects Of Prolonged Sitting And Workplace Tips From Pro Staff Physical Therapy

In recent years, media outlets have described sitting as the new smoking. This may seem like a stretch, but once you break that statement down it carries some truth. Cigarettes were not thought to be the cause of lung cancer and other serious diseases until the 1950s. Like the cigarette industry in the 1920s, the effects of prolonged sitting throughout the workday has largely been ignored and ...

Bloomfield Bengals Athletic Update February 19, 2018

Indoor track competed at the Group IV Championships and two athletes advanced to the Meet of Champions. Kaela Edwards broke her own school record in the 55-meter hurdles finishing second. La’Shan White finished an impressive 5th in the 400-meter run outrunning his number 10 seed.  

 Wrestling competed at the District 9 Championship. Two Bengals advanced to the Region ...

Bloomfield Bengals Athletic Update February 12, 2018

 Boys Basketball faced Barringer in a round of 16 match up in the ECT and won by a decisive score of 67-40. Junior Mike Ramos joined the 1000 point club for his career with a 29 point effort.

 Bowling added Essex County Championships for both the Boys and Girls to their already impressive resumes. The Boys County title is their first since the 2002-03 season while the Girls ...

The Jaffe Briefing - March 16, 2018


ON THE RAILS - Another commuting mess this morning, as the antiquated Portal Bridge got stuck in the "up" position at 4:22 a.m.  That caused a bunch of rush hour trains to be cancelled between Newark and Manhattan for four hours or so.  Both NJTransit and Amtrak riders were completely screwed. You may recall the proposed Gateway ...

Ten Ways to Be Productive on a Snow Day

March 7, 2018

Another Nor’Easter has smacked us in the face today.  After so many of us lost power for what seemed to be an eternity, it’s a good time to make up for lost productivity and work on the famous Stephen Covey Quadrant 2 Activities.  What are they you may ask?  Those are the activities that are Important, yet not urgent (well some of them can be).  In other ...

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (Random House, 1965)


In Cold Blood is, quite simply, the grand-daddy of true crime writing, dubbed by Capote, himself, as the first non-fiction novel (although Norman Mailer argued the point when he published The Executioner's Song in 1979.) The conditions under which I read In Cold Blood for the first time were pretty weird, which was another ...

Ian Hockley Visits New Jersey to Introduce Program to Empower Youth

This week I am taking a departure from book reviewing to share an important program that has been introduced to New Jersey this week by Mr. Ian Hockley, founder of the Dylan's Wings of Change Foundation. On December 14, 2012, Hockley's five year old son, an autistic child named Dylan, was gunned down in his classroom in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Dylan, a shy and adorable ...

Lilli DeJong by Janet Benton

Lilli De Jong by Janet Benton (Doubleday, 2017)


“It's said that every woman's painful labor is God's punishment. Eve ate an apple, and God pours wrath on every mother. So the Bible tells it.” (p.320)

The story of Eve and the serpent in the Garden of Eden, which is the Biblical explanation for the extreme pains of childbirth, casts women in the role of ...

4th Wall Announces Auditions for FUN HOME

March 16, 2018

4th Wall Theatre, a non-union NJ theatre company, will hold open auditions for all roles in the final production of its 2017-18 season, FUN HOME, with music by Jeanine Tesori, book and lyrics by Lisa Kron, and based on the graphic novel by Alison Bechdel. 4th Wall’s production will be directed by Kate Swan with music direction by Markus Grae-Hauck. The show will be presented at ...

Junior League of Montclair-Newark, Inc 50/50 Raffle

MONTCLAIR, NJ - The Junior League of Montclair-Newark, Inc. (JLMN) has provided support and service to women and children in Bloomfield, The Caldwells, Cedar Grove, Essex Fells, Glen Ridge, Irvington, Montclair, Newark and Verona for more than 95 years.

Our trained, enthusiastic members are committed to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women, and improving the community ...

Junior Summer Workshops To Be Held at Lord Stirling Stables

BASKING RIDGE, N.J. — Somerset County Park Commission Lord Stirling Stable has announced the dates for the Junior Summer Workshops, which are themed five-day programs focusing on riding and horse care. The Stable is located at 256 South Maple Avenue in Basking Ridge.

Junior riders may enroll in Summer Workshops beginning Saturday, March 17, 2018 at ...

Zone 2 USHJA Championships To Be Held in NJ and Pa.

LEXINGTON, Ky. — The United States Hunter Jumper Association announced the dates for 2018 Zone Horse of the Year, Stirrup Cup and Equitation championships, which provide members with an exciting opportunity to earn Championship Points toward zone year-end HOTY and Stirrup Cup awards. 

The championships are open to all zone competitors who meet the minimum requirements, except the ...


- Mar 14, 2018
Past Deputy Grand Marshall of St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Merchant Marine veteran James J.
Read more
- Feb 28, 2018
John Genitempo, The “Silver Fox”, of Nutley, passed away on Wednesday February 28, 2018 ...
Read more