Most recently New Jersey GovernorJon S. Corzine signed the Public Employee Pension and Benefits Reform Act of 2008. While this bill does not affect the members of the Police and Firemen’s retirement System (PFRS), it does affect members of the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) and the Teachers Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF). Certain Public Safety Officers in the State of New Jersey hold membership in PERS. The legislation, S-1962/A-2818, is touted to save New Jersey tax payers $150 million dollars by 2022 through new changes to the pension systems to include instituting a higher retirement age and new income eligibility requirements for enrollment in the major pension systems.

The significant changes signed into law today include:

  •  Increasing the annual salary required for new workers to qualify for the state pension system to $7,500. Previously, workers required an annual compensation of only $500 to qualify for the Teachers Pension and Annuity Fund, and a minimum salary of $1,500 a year for the Public Employees Retirement System.
  • Raising the retirement age from 60 to 62 for new employees to qualify for a pension without a reduction.
  • The number of paid holidays for state employees is reduced to 12. It eliminates the Lincoln’s Birthday holiday and combines it with Washington’s Birthday, to be observed as President’s Day.

The new law also makes reforms to the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP), allowing the state to offer an incentive to employees to opt out of the program and accept health coverage from other sources such as a spouse’s plan. The state has the power and authority to determine whether to offer the incentive and the amount, which could not exceed half of the amount saved because of the employee’s waiver of coverage.

The bill was sponsored in the Senate by Senators Barbara Buono (D-Middlesex), Stephen Sweeney (D-Salem, Cumberland, Gloucester), Nicholas Scutari (D-Middlesex, Cumberland, Union), and Tom Kean (R-Essex, Morris, Somerset, Union), and in the Assembly by Speaker Joseph Roberts (D-Camden).

While the members of PFRS have been spared by this legislation, close watch must be kept on our elected officials as it appears they are prepared to enact any cost savings measures available due to the poor financial position of the state.

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Photo of Frank M. Crivelli Frank M. Crivelli

Frank M. Crivelli’s practice revolves around the representation of over eighty-five (85) labor unions in various capacities, the majority of which bargain for law enforcement entities. He is proud to be called on a daily basis to provide counsel to over 12,000 state…

Frank M. Crivelli’s practice revolves around the representation of over eighty-five (85) labor unions in various capacities, the majority of which bargain for law enforcement entities. He is proud to be called on a daily basis to provide counsel to over 12,000 state, county and local law enforcement officers, firefighters and EMS workers.

Mr. Crivelli specializes his individual practice in collective negotiations.  Over the past twenty (20) years, Mr. Crivelli has negotiated well over one hundred (100) collective bargaining agreements for various state, county, municipal and private organizations and has resolved over thirty-five (35) labor agreements that have reached impasse through compulsory interest arbitration.  Mr. Crivelli routinely litigates matters in front of the New Jersey State Public Employment Relations Commission, the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law, third party neutrals for mediation, grievance and interest arbitration, the Superior Court of New Jersey and the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.

Mr. Crivelli founded and created the New Jersey Public Safety Officers Law Blog (www.njpublicsafetyofficers.com) approximately fifteen (15) years ago where he and members of his firm routinely publish blog posts regarding legal issues related to the employment of New Jersey Public Safety Officers.  The blog now contains over six hundred (600) articles and is reviewed and relied upon by thousands of public employees.  Mr. Crivelli has also published books and manuals pertaining to New Jersey Public Employee Disability Pension Appeals and the New Jersey Worker’s Compensation System. Currently, he is drafting a publication on how to Prepare and Negotiate a Collective Bargaining Agreement.  He lectures annually at the New Jersey State PBA Collective Bargaining Seminar, the National Association of Police Organization’s Legal Seminar, the New Jersey Public Employment Relations Commission Seminar on Public Employment Labor Law, the United States Marine Corps’ Commander’s Media Training Symposium and to Union Executive Boards and General Membership bodies on various labor related topics.

Prior to entering private practice, Mr. Crivelli joined the United States Marine Corps where he served as a Judge Advocate with the Legal Services Support Section of the First Force Services Support Group in Camp Pendleton, California.  While serving in the Marine Corps, Mr. Crivelli defended and prosecuted hundreds of Special and General Court Martial cases and administrative separation matters.  In addition to his trial duties, Mr. Crivelli was also charged with the responsibility of training various Marine and Naval combat command elements on the interpretation and implementation of the rules of engagement for various military conflicts that were ongoing throughout the world at that time. After leaving active duty, Mr. Crivelli remained in the Marine Corps Reserves where he was promoted to the rank of Major before leaving the service.

For the past fifteen (15) years, Mr. Crivelli has been certified as a Civil Trial Attorney by the Supreme Court for the State of New Jersey, a certification which less than two percent (2%) of the attorneys in New Jersey have achieved.  He is a graduate of Washington College (B.A.), the City University of New York School of Law (J.D.), the United States Naval Justice School, and the Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation.