On the very hour of its release, I had the opportunity to read the Roadmap to Resolution, the 51 page report of the New Jersey Pension and Health Benefit Study Commission. We were on a train to Washington to meet with the New Jersey Congressional Delegation, so thanks to Amtrak I had plenty of time to digest it all. Although I appreciate the work the Commission put into it and the opportunities to meet with them, I thought I’d come up with my own “Roadmap” for Pension & Benefit solutions for the governor to use. Their roadmap didn’t resemble the ones we are all used to. This is far less than the 51 pages in their version, and if he has ever used MapQuest, the governor shouldn’t get lost. Unfortunately this map doesn’t lead to Iowa or New Hampshire. It stays in New Jersey where this road began. It’s where the journey should have ended in 2011 when he told everybody else on the entire map how swell the ride went. It’s some old advice, and some new, with the same destination in mind.
Suggested Routes: Common Sense, Fiscal
Responsibility, Fairness, Respect
1. Make first available U-Turn! The road
you’ve been on won’t help any of us get to
the retirement office!
2. PLEASE stop investing in high-commission,
high-fee hedge funds. You hit the $600.2
million dollar mark for 2014 alone in fees
and commissions. (That’s $1.6 million a DAY,
which puts you at the $1.5 billion mark
since you took office!) The percentage of
our pensions in hedge funds is outright
dangerous and the tolls that your donors
are charging make driving on this road
downright irresponsible and unaffordable.
Freeway ahead, take the first exit please.
3. Sorry, Governor, two way traffic! When
Judge Jacobson ruled with you in 2014,
you had some cordial words for her: “I am
pleased the court recognized the necessity
and urgency of this decision.” In 2015, she
ruled against you and you called her decision,
“Liberal Judicial Activism.” Those are
some harsh words for a conservative judge
that was appointed by Republican Gov.
Whitman. Life is a two-way street Governor;
please watch for oncoming traffic or
you might get hit head on.
4. Yield to the courts, Governor. We follow
the law and we expect our citizens to follow
the law. Since you put your hand on
the Bible and took an oath, we think you
probably should too.
5. Please let your appointees on the Health
Benefits Plan Design Committee know we
have some fantastic ideas to significantly
lower the cost of healthcare. You can’t
drive a car with your eyes closed, and we
are about to run off the road. I’ve never
seen that end well. Let’s get to work; we
need to avoid a horrible accident, and you
won’t even let us help steer.
6. Chapter 78 increased our contributions
from 8.5 percent to 10 percent. That’s $56
million that has literally been deducted
from our paychecks, but you keep giving it
back to our employers as a “rebate.” It’s
time to merge it back into our PFRS system
where it belongs and continue to ensure
we are a well-funded and financially
7. It’s been a long ride so far. Stop at the rest
area and pick up a cool, refreshing C.O.L.A.
Our retired members haven’t had any in a
very long time and they kind of forgot
how good it tastes. They’d buy you one
themselves, but it’s been tough living without
a raise since 2011.
You’re halfway there! To finish reading Pat Colligan’s roadmap grab a copy of NJ Cops March 2015 issue.