In a letter dated December 15, 2008, Wendy Jamison, Secretary for the Police and Firemen’s  Retirement System (PFRS),  explained that PFRS has recently adopted amendments to the New Jersey Administrative Code that addresses training requirements for Police Officers and Firefighters and the potential affect of the same to pension eligibility for some members of PFRS.

In her letter, Ms. Jamison explained that in order for a member of PFRS to meet the eligibility criteria for the pension system, he or she must work in a title that meets the definition of "police officer" or "firefighter" and meet specific minimal training requirements.  The training requirements for eligibility in PFRS is that each member of the retirement system must complete the basic training course for Police Officers as prescribed by the New Jersey Police Training Commission, and Firefighters must receive Firefighter 1 certification through the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, Division of Fire Safety.  What is important to note is that N.J.A.C. 17:4-2.4 mandates that should pension members not pass and/or receive said certification within eighteen (18) months after the final adoption of the new regulation, they will be dis-enrolled and removed as an active member of PFRS.

In essence, PFRS members that do not have the required training as specified under N.J.A.C. 17:4-2.4, have until June 30, 2010, to complete the required training.  If any active member of the retirement system not be fully trained by July 1, 2010, they will be removed as an active member of PFRS

in closing, Ms. Jamison notes that certain federal, state, or county training may be substituted for the training required under N.J.A.C. 17:4-2.4, so long as the same is approved by the New Jersey Police Training Commission and the PFRS Board of Trustees.  However for Firefighters, no other training other than Firefighter 1 certification through the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, Division of Fire Safety, will be accepted.  It should also be noted that while the letter is silent regarding Corrections Officers; common sense dictates that completion of the Corrections Officers Training Academy (COTA) will satisfy the requirements of N.J.A.C. 17:4-2.4.  However at this time we are contacting the Board of trustees to obtain clarification to ensure Corrections personnel are protected and covered.

The reason that we are bringing this to the attention of our readers is to ensure that all Public Safety Officers are made aware of the new regulation and that their training certification is up to date for purposes of qualifying as a member of the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System.  PFRS is regarded as the "gem" of the public employment retirement systems in the State of New Jersey.  For obvious reasons, the retirement system garners great benefits for its membership in comparison to the other large public employment retirement systems provided by the state of New Jersey.  over the years, PFRS and the New Jersey State Legislature has been lobbied by administrators and non public safety officer groups to obtain membership in the retirement system.  With the passage of the new regulation, there should no longer be a question as to which employees have the right and ability to claim membership in PFRS.

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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.