As we wind down another year, we can look back and see the progress the PFRS Trustee Board has made. Further, the way the board has responded to situations in a methodical matter displays the commitment to ensuring that the members (both active and retired) are the priority.
At the December meeting, the board heard and voted on 191 special retirements, 26 service retirements and one deferred retirement application. With the service retirements portion, 20 were under Chapter 52. The board also ruled on three ordinary disability claims and 12 accidental disability applications.
As I always put it, this is a startling reminder to the community about how we put the public before our own well-being. Hearing these cases always makes you reflect on the physical and mental stressors we have to endure every day to keep this state safe.
On the administrative side, our legal affairs deputy director noted that we currently have 184 cases pending in the Office of Administrative Law. Further, we have approximately 30 cases in the Superior Court/Appellate Division, two matters pending in the New Jersey Supreme Court and one matter pending before the United States District Court/New Jersey Division.
We will be securing outside counsel to assist the deputy director in facilitating some litigation. The deputy director also commented on the management of OPRA (Open Public Records Act) requests and how to produce more efficiencies with the process.
The PFRS executive director noted the continued progress with the audit and actuary data. He also spoke on the cost-of-living-adjustment research, as well as our regulation review with investments and board bylaws.
There was also a discussion about the current state of the HMFA loan program. Currently, we have 5,427 loans out. Without getting too intricate with all the figures, by statute, the PFRS mortgage plan has a cap as it pertains to pension assets. With this, the board decided to make some adjustments in order to continue the program.
Some of these changes are to change the calculations from book value to market value for the 10 percent calculation and adjust the maximum loan-to-value at 85 percent. The rates reset in February, and we will continue to monitor and make recommendations as noted.
While 2022 was a roller coaster in the financial world, the team has managed to stay focused and navigate through these troubling times. In fact, these past several years have thrown several curveballs in the market, and with a comprehensive plan, we have managed to stay the course. With the many priorities we have in the future (for both our active and retired members), you can be assured that the system, and the board, will take hits and keep moving forward.