Offiical Press Statements and Releases
President Tony Wieners’ Message
21 DEC 2010
Delegates, Presidents & Members:
Recently, a letter was printed in a local Morris County newspaper that was written by Mt Olive Police Sergeant Michael Pocquat. Sgt Pocquat did an admirable job detailing his frustrations regarding the financial condition of our pension system and how it had arrived there. A subsequent letter from him asked what the unions, the PBA, FOP, FMBA & PFANJ were doing about it.
Not being a PBA member, it was no real surprise that he had not had the benefit of receiving the volumes of literature that the PBA has used to educate our members and the public or knowledge of the work being done.
As an opportunity to bring everyone up to speed and review the several years of work that has been done already and talk a little about the future, the attached report “The State PBA and Pension Reform: In Defense of a Sacred Trust” was created.
Please read it thoroughly and disseminate it among your membership and feel free to share it with any interested party.
Rob Nixon's legislative news
2010 New Jersey State PBA Convention
Government Affairs Report
“Pension Reform 3”
Governor’s proposal amounts to 3rd pension reform effort since 2007. Proposals would significantly change the level of pension and health benefits for PFRS. Changes eligibility for PFRS special retirement from 65% with 25 years to 60% at 25 years and 70% at 30 years to 65% for any PFRS member with less than 25 years of service
Change calculation for pension to “highest 3 years” rather than final salary for all employees (this currently applies only to employees hired after May 21, 2010). Eliminate Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA). Revise Disability pension qualifications. Establish disability pension earning test which would prohibit PFRS member from working a job whose salary exceeds that of what they would’ve been making as an officer if they hadn’t retired on a disability. Example – an officer collects a disability pension of $50,000. If the retiree had stayed employed as an officer his salary would be $75,000. Under this proposal, the retiree would be prohibited from earning more than the difference between his pension and his projected salary.for the rest of the report - click here
Billboard Warns of AC Police Layoffs
ATLANTIC CITY (CBS3) - A new billboard unveiled Wednesday is warning tourists and residents of possible police layoffs in Atlantic City. The sign, which is located on Route 30, reads: "In AC, everyone wants to get lucky. With 73 less police officers, Even the bad guys are feeling lucky." The state's Police Benevolent Association is responsible for the sign.... click here for the full story
FOR A SEPERATE VIDEO REPORT- click here___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
NJSPBA Announces $10,000 REWARD For arrest and conviction of suspects who shot Wayne officer
New Jersey State PBA President Anthony Wieners announced a $10,000 reward from the COP SHOT program for information on the suspects responsible for shooting a Wayne police officer Monday morning. Just after 12 am Wayne Officer Brian Worell interrupted a robbery in progress at a Route 23 Exxon gas station. As he got out of his police cruiser, two armed robbers told him not to touch his gun. Worell took cover behind his police car, and the robbers shot at him twice. One round grazed the left side of his head. Worell called for help and ran after the robbers as they ran up a side street. After other police officers arrived, Worell was taken to St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson where he was treated and released.
“These two thugs terrorized workers, customers, and then opened fire on a uniformed police officer - they must be stopped”, Wieners said in announcing the reward. He commended Officer Worell for his quick actions. “These suspects have total disregard for human life - Officer Worell’s actions prevented them from further harming the public. We also have to thank God for watching over Officer Worell, it was a close call tonight”.
The reward is being coordinated with the Wayne Police Department. Anyone with information is urged to call Wayne Police at 973-633-3535.
The New Jersey COP SHOT program was created to offer rewards when law enforcement are injured or killed in the line of duty. The program is run through the NJ State PBA . The NJ State PBA is New Jersey’s largest law enforcement organization representing 33,000 federal, state, county and local law enforcement officers.
Press Statements & Releases
STATEMENT OF ANTHONY F. WIENERS
BEFORE SENATE COMMITTEE
New Jersey State PBA
February 18, 2010
Pension and Benefit Reform Legislation
Thank you Senator Whelan and members of the Committee. I’d like to share a few thoughts on the package of bills before you today that reflect the mindset of the 33,000 members of the NJ State PBA at this critical time.
Since the Murphy Commission held its first hearings on the State pension system, I have been testifying that police and firefighters are not the average public employee. The nature and risks of our jobs, the manner in which we have funded our pensions when our employers haven’t and the mix of benefits resulting from collective bargaining in and of itself shows that PBA members have been responsible stewards of the benefits provided to us. I don’t think anyone sitting on this Committee would find too much to disagree with in that statement. In fact, when the last round of pension reform passed, PFRS was intentionally left out of the bill because of those facts and even Governor Christie promised cops before the election that “Nothing will change for the pensions of current officers, future officers or retirees in a Christie Administration.”
Unfortunately, in 2010 our careful protection of PFRS and our honest approach to collective bargaining is about to be overwhelmed by the rush to pass these bills. However, like all of my members, I am a taxpayer too and I do understand that the State faces serious fiscal problems. But I need to say that these problems don’t exist because of PFRS. They exist because of what government failed to do and failed to plan for years ago. It would be wrong to blame you for the mistakes of past Legislatures just the same as it is wrong to blame PFRS members for the corruption of a few in a different pension system and for deferral of billions by local government from PFRS over the past decade.
I have provided the Committee with two pages of comments on the bills and I will not repeat them now. The New Jersey State PBA has offered concrete alternatives to S-2 and we only ask that S-3 permit collective bargaining for health benefits to remain in place. These are fair alternatives and I believe our pension proposal makes sense and will save millions now without creating two classes of cops on the street.
The State PBA asks that this process be slowed down just a little to allow for meaningful analysis and amendments. These bills are a solution in search of a problem with PFRS where no problem exists. However, I am ready and willing to discuss real solutions with you to ensure that our pensions remain intact for years to come.
Court Ruling on Furloughs
On 4/17/09, the Superior Court of NJ (Appellate Division) did rule that due to the current economic crisis that “imminent peril” was found to be sufficient and upheld the ability of State and Local government to temporarily layoff (furlough) workers.
HOWEVER in this same unanimous finding- the Court ruled a stay of enforcement concerning “staggered layoffs” pending consideration before Public Employees Relations Commission (PERC). This is the argument that the State PBA has been making regarding the rights of our members and requiring mandatory negotiations relating to conditions of work.
We will continue to monitor and keep you up to date on any further findings.
State President Wieners takes the fight to Civil Service Commission on the new rules governing furloughs.
The NJ State PBA filed its appeal today (3/30) in Superior Court-Appellate Division regarding the Civil Service Commissions adoption of new rule on furloughs. Updates to follow as we receive the information. to read what has been filed - click here
Office Of The Governor
AWARENESS, TRAINING, KEY TO PREVENTING
SUICIDES BY LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS
Governor's Task Force issues
recommendations to address growing concern
TRENTON -- A task force created by Governor Jon S. Corzine to address concerns over the number of suicides by law enforcement officers today recommended improving awareness by officers and supervisors, providing broader access to counseling services, and combating the reluctance of officers to seek help.
"We owe a great deal to these brave men and women, who put themselves in harms way on a regular basis to enable the rest of us and our families to lead safer lives," Governor Corzine said. "The pressures they experience each day are tremendous. We owe it to them to extend a helping hand if and when they find themselves in an hour of need."
The report comes five months after Governor Corzine created the Task Force on Police Suicides, following a request by the state Policemen's Benevolent Association. Nationwide, police suicides have reached unprecedented proportions. There were 55 reported suicides of New Jersey law enforcement officers from 2003 to 2007, which includes police, corrections, and retired and disabled officers. The number of law enforcement suicides exceeds the number of officers killed in the line of duty in the state.
The 14-member task force was charged with developing a strategy to assist law enforcement officials to deal with stress and other mental health issues, and was comprised of representatives of local law enforcement organizations, the state police, mental health professionals, a representative for non-commissioned officers, a representative from the Attorney General's Office, and organizations for families of fallen officers. Attorney General Anne Milgram and Department of Human Services Commissioner Jennifer Velez served as co-chairs the task force.
"Police officer suicide is a tragic problem that impacts the officers' families, the law enforcement community, and all of us," said Attorney General Milgram. "Law enforcement officers serve with courage and dedication, and we owe them no less than to do all we can to ensure that those officers in need have access to appropriate resources and assistance. I am proud of the work of the Task Force to identify strategies for suicide prevention and I am committed to working with law enforcement and the mental health community to implement the Task Force's recommendations."
Recommendations by the Task Force on Police Suicides include:
* An increase in suicide prevention training, including new recruits, active officers, and supervisors;
* Improving access to and effectiveness of counseling services for officers, including legislation affording confidentiality to peer counselors and additional outreach to retired and disabled officers;
* Adopting "best practices" of other law enforcement agencies, such as a comprehensive law enforcement Employee Assistance Program and mandatory counseling following traumatic events.
"This task force was an invaluable opportunity to connect the unique concerns and stressors experienced by the law enforcement community with the expertise of mental health professionals," said Commissioner Velez. "Our hope is that through the work and recommendations of this task force, we can break down barriers and provide assistance when it's needed."
Statement of Anthony F. Wieners
Assembly Budget Committee
Assembly Bill 3688
January 26, 2009
Thank you Assemblyman Greenwald for the opportunity to comment on Assembly Bill 3688. My name is Tony Wieners and I am President of the 33,000 member New Jersey State PBA.
I think you are all aware that we consider maintaining a healthy and stable pension system to be the top priority for the State PBA. For nearly 20 years, our members have been making the highest pension contribution of any public employee in the nation to support our pensions. We are keenly aware, that the only way a pension system can survive is if contributions from employees and employers, coupled with good investments, are allowed to grow.
However, our pension system has grown more underfunded nearly every year since 2002. The primary reason for this can be traced to legislation similar to what is being proposed in Assembly Bill 3688. click here for the full testimony
Police report crime spikes related to economy
By Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY
January 27, 2009
Nearly half of the 233 police agencies surveyed since the collapse of the nation's financial markets link increases in criminal offenses to the faltering economy, a new review by a law enforcement research group shows.
In a comprehensive survey of possible links between crime and the economy, the Police Executive Research Forum found that 44% of agencies reported spikes in crime linked to the economy. Of those, 39% reported increases in robberies, 32% in burglaries and 40% in thefts. The report also found that 63% of the 233 agencies were bracing for funding cuts during the upcoming year.
The survey, conducted over a five-week period starting in late December, asked for information on all of 2008 but emphasized the past six months to account for the economic crash.
The combination of declining resources and increases in some offenses represents the "first wave" of bad news for communities and police officials, says Chuck Wexler, the research forum's executive director.
"When departments saw increases in violent crime (in 2005 and 2006), they were able to flood the problem areas using overtime for additional patrols. Now, that overtime is drying up," he says. He adds that 62% of police departments said they were cutting overtime spending.
Crime dropped in 2007 and during the first half of 2008, according to the FBI. The FBI's full report on 2008 won't be completed until later this year.
Among cities reporting increases in crimes linked to the sagging economy:
• Atlanta Police Chief Richard Pennington blames the economy for increases of 14% in burglary in 2008 and of 17% in auto theft. Many of those offenses spiked as the economy soured, he says.
Instead of taking jewelry and other valuables, he says, burglars are stripping homes of flat-screen TVs and computers. Both items can easily be resold.
"I haven't seen stuff like this in a long time," Pennington says.
• Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo says financial woes are pushing people to violence. He says aggravated assaults rose 10% last year. Many involved family having to money disputes, he says.
"The state of the economy is putting tremendous pressure on the American family," Acevedo says. "There are homes the cops all know where there has been a pattern of problems. Now, we're going to homes that haven't been problems in the past."
• Topeka police reported spikes in shoplifting and burglaries. Thieves there are stealing license plates to recover stickers on the plates that show proof of tax payments, according to the report.
Some communities reported a decrease in crime despite the economic slump. Phoenix Police Chief Jack Harris says crime in his city has not worsened, and property-related offenses — burglary, theft and robbery — actually have declined 9%.
"We would like to think it's our crime-suppression effort," Harris says. "I hesitate to take responsibility for declines in crime, because that means you get the blame when it goes up."
Eleven percent of the agencies reported crime increases they did not link to the economy.
Wexler says police aren't likely to feel the full impact of the faltering economy until at least midyear because crime tends to pick up in the summer.
In Atlanta, Pennington says the economy already is hampering the department's ability to fight rising crime.
City workers, including the department's 1,760 officers, administrators and chief, are now working 36-hour weeks to save money, he says. The hourly cuts took effect after Christmas.
"This just started," Pennington says. "We'll see how it goes."
PRESIDENT'S TESTIMONY BEFORE THE SENATE BUDGET COMMITTEE ON BILL S7
Thank you Senator Buono for the opportunity to comment on Senate Bill 7. My name is Tony Wieners and I am President of the 33,000 member New Jersey State PBA.
I think you are all aware that we consider maintaining a healthy and stable pension system to be the top priority for the State PBA. For nearly 20 years, our members have been making the highest pension contribution of any public employee in the State of new Jersey to support our pensions. We are keenly aware, that the only way a pension system can survive is if contributions from employees and employers, coupled with good investments, are allowed to grow.
However, our pension system has grown more underfunded nearly every year since 2002. The primary reason for this can be traced to legislation similar to what is being proposed in Senate Bill 7. In fact, this legislation is déjà vu all over again.
Pension deferrals have been passed by the Legislation in 2000, 2001 and 2003. Whether by use of pension assets or delayed contributions, local governments were given the ability to skip their pension payments. We know from the past few years that the lack of contributions coming into the system, coupled with bad investments, have led to dramatic drops in the value of the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System.
The more these payments were delayed, the higher the cost to local government when the bill to repay them came due. That is exactly what happened at the end of the last pension deferral. It is what we can expect in three years when the deferred contributions must be repaid under Senate Bill 7.
I believe there is another lesson to be learned of the mistakes of past pension deferrals. The intended purpose of the deferrals was to either reduce the property tax burden or to provide direct property tax relief on taxpayers. The past deferrals did neither. Taxes went up and we are unaware of what became of the $8 billion saved by local governments as a result of these skipped payments. In fact, the result has been a rush to lay the blame for rising taxes on public employees and we especially are feeling an impact as real and threatened layoffs are occurring today.
These concerns are not merely my own. Two different Committees established to study the pension system came to the same conclusion. The Murphy Commission, appointed by Governor Codey in 2005, and the Joint Committee on Public Employee Benefit Reform in 2006 both criticized pension deferrals as the reason for the growing unfunded liability in the pension systems. I believe this vicious circle has to be closed or we will be having this same discussion in 2012.
As taxpayers and employees, we are very sympathetic to the conditions facing the State in this economic crisis. High property taxes impact our members like every family in the State but we especially feel the impact of these pension deferrals and the lack of protections for law enforcement in the cap law.
Delaying these contributions again is like paying the American Express with the Visa card. Eventually, the bill is going to come due and the costs are going to be severe.
Thank you for considering my comments and I am happy to take any questions.
Wednesday October 22, 2008
Bystanders save officer from burning wreckage
EAST WINDSOR -- Bystanders saved the life of a township police officer by pulling the injured and dazed man from his patrol car as it became engulfed in flames following an accident on Old York Road last night, according to witnesses.
The officer, Paul Wille, 27, was rushed to the regional trauma center at Capital Health System at Fuld hospital in Trenton suffering from multiple injuries to his head and neck.
While his exact condition was not available, authorities late last night said Wille was conscious and alert at the hospital. Wille is a three-year veteran of the police force.
Witnesses last night credited Terrence Nish, 27, and his girlfriend, Shannon Scott, 25, both of South Brunswick, with saving Wille, who was trapped in the wreckage after his patrol car slammed into a tree and a utility pole and ended up in a ditch.
"They're heroes. What they did was extraordinary. They got him out before the car exploded," said Old York Road resident Frank Sparacino, who like his neighbors ran from their homes following the 7:20 p.m. crash.
Township police and detectives from the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office were still conducting their investigation at the crash scene last night.
But authorities said preliminary information indicates Wille lost control of his patrol car while driving south on Old York Road on his way to assist other officers who were attempting to subdue a man who was resisting arrest in the 200 block of Cedarville Road, authorities said, adding that the man was being arrested for a disorderly persons offense.
Neighborhood residents said the crash occurred along a bend in the road in the 800 block of Old York Road.
Lisa Scott, across from whose home the accident occurred, said her daughter and her daughter's boyfriend had arrived for a visit and had just sat down at the dinner table when they heard the crash.
Running outside, they found the smashed patrol car in the ditch, its emergency lights still flashing. She said Wille -- trapped in the car -- was obviously badly injured and appeared unconscious.
"Terry tried to get the door open, but it wouldn't budge. Then smoke started coming out from under the hood and we started to panic," Lisa Scott recalled.
"Then a woman pulled up in a Suburban. Terry took the trailer hitch off her car and broke the (patrol car's) window."
When his driver's door window shattered, Wille began to regain consciousness, Lisa Scott said. "He kept saying, 'My neck! My neck!' " she said.
Nish, aided by others, attempted to pull the officer from the car but was unable to unbuckle Wille's seat belt.
Wille was able to retrieve a knife he had on his belt and passed it to Nish, who used it to cut the seat belt. "By then the flames were already in the passenger seat," Lisa Scott said.
Nish was then able to pull Wille from the patrol car. Aided by the others, he carried the officer to a safe distance away just as the patrol car became enveloped in flames. "We got blankets and wrapped him up," she said.
Ammunition stored inside the burning patrol car then started going off, witnesses said.
Lisa Scott said she and her family are praying Wille recovers from the wreck. "My heart goes out to him. I hope he's going to be OK."
Old York Road was closed for several hours between Conover Road and Eastwood Drive last night while authorities investigated.
19 August 2008: State Policemen's Association Declares War on Telemarketers
The New Jersey State Policemen's Benevolent Association is warning the public about telemarketers soliciting for donations to a police charity that allegedly spends most of its money on marketing, according to Anthony Wieners, president of the State PBA. - click here for the full article
06 June 2008: New Jersey State PBA President Receives Award
The New Jersey Narcotic Enforcement Officers Association gave its first ever law enforcement recognition award to New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association President Anthony Wieners on June 5 in Atlantic City. The award recognized President Wiener’s dedication and leadership in representing law enforcement both at the State and national levels. The organization cited President Wiener’s national fight to restore police funding as pivotal to the work they do. “I have been to Washington, D.C. on several occasions and testified before Congress about the danger in cutting police funding. I realize the work done by the New Jersey Narcotics Enforcement Officers Association is vital and needs to be funded. The award tonight just solidifies my efforts. I thank them for this special award,” said President Wieners.
The New Jersey Narcotic Enforcement Officers Association (NJNEOA) has more than two thousand members that represent Federal, State, County, and Municipal law enforcement as well as private industry, the professions, education and government.
The NJNEOA was organized to encourage mutual cooperation, discussion and interest in the problems of enforcement concerning drug abuse; to exchange ideas, conduct seminars and conferences to educate those involved in the abatement of the illegal narcotic trade.