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NJSPBA Pres. clears up misconceptions over pension plan

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NJ police officers take a beating in the press. Aside from #BlueFriday, where we highlight all the good that our local officers are doing in the their communities,  I wanted to bring to light the fact the misconceptions about officers and the pension system.

It seems that every day there is another story in the news highlighting corruption or overpayments or sick time payouts, they always seem to highlight a New Jersey police chief. I asked our friend and NJSPBA President, Pat Colligan, to join us to talk about why that is and clear up some misconceptions.

I asked Pat why it always seems that the stories of pension and sick time abuse seem to revolve around an officer,  “Because they make the most money,” Colligan said. “It’s actually a pretty easy target. Those were contracts negotiated a long time ago. It was certainly negotiated when the towns had the ability to pay. Towns were flush with cash and now we can look back and say that’s why taxes got so high in New Jersey because we were spending money that ran out.” Colligan continued.

Pat pointed out that over time after some of these payouts, towns have renegotiated the deals, including the renegotiation of the sick time, including cutoffs, based around hiring dates.

Somehow amidst all the turbulence of the NJ pension system, the police pensions have done it right. They are near 70% solvent. That’s unreal compared to the teachers and workers who are somewhere in the 40’s and 50’s.

“It’s still near 70. It’s still a very solvent system. A matter of fact, its the only system that’s still left in NJ that’s really in good shape, us and the Troopers, because of our contribution rates also,” Colligan stated. Colligan also added that part of the success of keeping the pensions funded is that police are now paying 10% contribution rates of their salaries into the pension. That’s more than most put into their 401K.

The majority of cops and firemen do not get Social Security so this is all they have for retirement.

Watch the complete segment in the YouTube clip above.

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