As all of us know too well, those few words just about sum up all our lives.
For those of you who remember the June 2014 PBA meeting, Marc and I were not in the plans to take over leadership of the NJ State PBA. I remember it well, because as I sat at my daughter’s high school graduation ceremony, I received almost 300 text messages within a few hours.
I knew for a couple weeks prior to the meeting that I had to pick an executive vice president before that news broke. I chose Marc Kovar because he was already familiar with the inner workings of the State PBA and had built relationships throughout the state, as well as with our national association.
As I’ve often said, I knew we had to hit the ground running. I didn’t know Marc too well personally, but I needed a head start and a navigator. Thankfully, we inherited a PBA that was solid financially, well respected and known as “The voice of New Jersey law enforcement.” Unfortunately, we were all still reeling from the devastating effects of Chapter 78.
Marc and I publicly made a goal of meeting every legislator in their districts in the first six months. The initiative proved that I needed a lesson in New Jersey geography. It took a full
year. You learn a lot about a person when you spend a year in a car together. Shortly into that
time, I never looked back and wondered if I made the right decision.
As the title above reads, “Man makes plans…and God laughs.” God laughed, and unfortunately Marc had to alter his plans and retire.
We had big shoes to fill and a daunting ride in front of us. I can look back and say we had one
hell of a ride. Since 2014, we had quite a few successes.
On the legislative side we either sponsored, stopped or pushed over the finish line some important law enforcement initiatives, such as: Independent PFRS Board of Trustees; responsible
police licensing; 20-and-out restoration; Restoration of PERC/Civil Service in Atlantic City; Atlantic City Public Safety Room charge; Ticket Quota Ban; Body Camera Officer Review; Correctional Police Officer GAP training process; Class 3 SLEO; law enforcement magazine capacity protection, prohibited Fitness-for-Duty Termination while awaiting retirement; stopped Qualified Immunity legislation; stopped civilian review board legislation; stopped Internal Affairs
OPRA access legislation; stopped Class 2 sheriff’s appointment legislation, bail reform; and
helped implement changes to eluding, assault on a law enforcement officer and gun charges.
On the regulatory action side, we worked with the attorney general’s office to impact bodyworn camera implementation, the Early Warning System, Use-of-Force policy and IA guideline updates.
PBA improvements (with the help of incredible staff, delegates and committees) included: started the first ever PBA Political Action account; started the PBA Educational Committee, increased Collective Bargaining Seminar attendance every year since 2014; instituted HR 218 coverage for retirees; increased Legal Protection Plan coverage limits with zero increase in premiums; developed and instituted the LPP unlimited plan; and increased NJSPBA investment and cash earnings by 55 percent.
Not every day was easy, that’s for damn sure. We took some right hooks (sometimes followed
by a few quick lefts), but we never hit the mat. There were many days when we both wondered
why we weren’t back in our respective detective bureaus.
Marc has been one hell of a partner, and I learned a few things over the years. Except for his
navigating ability behind the wheel, never underestimate him. I learned quickly to let him do
the negotiating – ALL the negotiating.
His loyalty is unwavering. If you are going to insult him, me, his family or the PBA, you’d better duck. If you lie to him, you will be caught, and if he senses you are full of s*#@, it’s going
to start smelling bad very soon.
It was awesome to share the ride with Marc. I know he appreciated every moment to serve all of you, and I really mean every single one of you. I know there is still some more fishing in our future. We made some mistakes along the way, but we’ve shared many more successes.
Let’s honor his work here by preaching his strongest and most passionate message here over the years: “Please be your brother’s keeper.”
Job very well done, Marc. Thank you for everything.