February 20, 2021
I hope this message finds all of you and your family safe during this pandemic. The good news is that we might be headed towards herd immunity this spring. The number of new active cases is falling well in excess of what should be the case if we consider vaccinations alone. This certainly bodes well for a return to life as was knew it!
I was part of another one of the zoom meetings run by Ken Buck of local 8. We had our pension board member, Bruce Polkowitz, providing us an update as to the new pension board's progress. It's good news for the most part. The board is meeting with some foot dragging by the state in terms of giving us our money to invest as we see fit. The board has submitted it's proposed regulations by which it will govern itself to the state for it's approval. Bruce seems to think that once we clear that hurdle, there shouldn't be any foot dragging by the state and that we should get our money more expeditiously. We certainly hope that to be the case. If they continue dragging their feet, NJRPFA will certainly be ready to have our membership let the state know of our displeasure. Hopefully it isn't needed.
Bruce did advise us that some of our investments are currently in long term vehicles that we are getting a good return on. We will not be able to liquidate some of these investments without having to sell them at fire sale prices. He anticipates that we won't need to do that as things stand right now. Some of these investments are 10 year commitments, but we are making good rates of return on them, so other than the loss of some flexibility in the new board making investments, it's not really that big of an issue.
COLA is still on the table. The actuary has to assess where our pension is at this moment. Once that is complete, it's just a matter of plugging in different scenarios to see what gets those most in need, a few extra dollars every month. We're definitely going to have serious discussions on COLA. We wouldn't have been able to even have a discussion on this issue had we not left the state's control of our pension. So, we are definitely making progress.
We will be adding a COLA information page to our website. Ken Buck has a group on Face Book with several thousand members who are retired police and firemen. I'd like the membership's approval to spend maybe about $600 to get a page up and running and to allow Ken to import his contacts to our server so we can do a mass emailing when we need to and to solicit new members to NJRPFA. It's a very smart expenditure if we can grow our organization. Let me know what you all think about this.
Some of our locals are beginning to schedule meetings this spring. Masks and social distancing will be the order of the day for the time being. But it's a start. The state organization is going to try and take our show on the road in this new year, moving it from place to place so that more people can attend a state meeting. I'll be looking for your help to secure venues for us to come to.
Thanks for taking the time to read this lengthy post. I'm doing the best I can to keep everybody up to speed given the circumstances. Take care and I hope to see you sometime soon!