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NJ Public Employees Ready to Hit Gov. Christie with New Pension-Funding Suit

New Jersey public-employee unions, already in court with Gov. Chris Christie's administration over the state pension contribution in the current fiscal year, say they are preparing to file a new lawsuit challenging Christie's planned payment into the pension system for the next fiscal year.

A total of 14 unions representing teachers, firefighters, police officers, and other public workers said their attorneys are readying the new suit to contest Christie's plan to make a $1.3 billion employer contribution into the pension system during the fiscal year that begins July 1. Christie announced that contribution amount while putting forward his new, $33.8 billion budget last week.

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PSMA Board of Directors Endorses Eric Pierre for PERS Board of Trustees

The PSMA Board of Directors voted on February 3, 2015 to endorse Eric Pierre for the State Representative on the PERS Board of Trustees.

Eric is a manager in the NJ Department of Labor & Workforce Development where he has worked for 25 years. Eric is also a full member of IBEW Local 30. The PERS Board of Trustees is responsible for overseeing the PERS pension system. It is vitally important that we help elect Eric to the Board to represent the interests of managers and other State employees.

The PSMA Board of Directors urges you, and all yor colleagues, to vote for Eric Pierre.

From April 1, 2015 May 19, 2015, you can easily vote online or by phone by doing the following:

1. Receive your paper ballot from your HR representative or certifying officer (this should be delivered to you between April 1 and April 10, 2015).
2. Locate your PIN # on the ballot.
3. Cast your vote online or by phone.4.

State employees call 888-845-2758 or visit

PSMA Retirees' Network Update

The Retiree Network is establishing a Coordinating Committee to develop bylaws and increase membership recruitment. If you are interested in serving on the Coordinating Committee please send an email to Barry Chalofsky at

The PSMA Board of Directors voted on February 3, 2015 to:

1) Authorize the creation of a Coordinating Committee;
2) Open membership in the Network to all former State retired employees regardless of former title; and
3) Establish dues for 2015 at $12.00 per year.

Dues Invoices for 2015 were sent via Pay Pal on February 12, 2015. To those few members who have not paid - THIS IS YOUR LAST NOTICE. Please pay your dues!

You can also pay by check to:

PSMA Retiree Network
212 West State Street
Trenton, NJ 08608

PSMA Retirees' Network membership continues to grow and is now over 40 members!

As many of you are aware a number of long-time PSMA members have retired from the State. While this has been a loss to PSMA we all understand that this is part of life - especially for State workers. We strongly encourage these recent retirees to join the PSMA Retirees' Network. If you know of a retired manager (or non-manager), please have him or her go to for more information.

Contribute to PSMA PAC

In order for an organization to be effective it has to have a well-funded Political Action Committee (PAC). PSMA is not allowed to use dues to given donations to candidates and political parties. All monies used for that purpose come from a separate PSMA PAC which gets its funding directly from contributions by members. This past year the PSMA PAC made some very critical donations to legislators who ended up supporting us in our quest for union legislation.

This effort requires a small contribution from everyone. Please consider donating $2.00 or more per paycheck to the PSMA PAC. You can get a special PAC dues deduction card by e-mailing, or directly from your payroll clerk. You can also send a donation to:

212 West State Street
Trenton, NJ 08608

Chris Christie Administration Paid $600M In Financial Fees In 2014

Under Chris Christie, the New Jersey pension system paid more than $600 million in fees to financial firms in 2014 -- 50 percent more than a year ago, and a higher rate than almost any other state reports paying for pension management. The figures are buried within an otherwise routine annual report that appeared to change the way the fees were counted to make them look smaller than they actually are.

That accounting change comes at a time when the Christie administration is under scrutiny for investing pension money in high-fee firms whose executives made campaign contributions to Republican political groups. The move obscuring the increase in reported fees also comes on the heels of Christie telling New Jersey teachers, firefighters, cops and other public workers that "there are no alternatives" to cutting their retirement benefits because the state pension system is so strapped for cash.

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Christie Wants Three More Years to Get State Pension Program Fully Funded

Gov. Chris Christie has been trying to generate support in recent weeks for the sweeping changes to public-employee benefits that he laid out during his budget address last month.

He's raising the issue regularly during town hall-style events, and his office has also been sending out near-daily emails and social-media posts highlighting the cost of employee pensions and health benefits.

But it's an idea that the governor hasn't been giving the hard sell that could catch on with the Democrats -- and appears to have done just that with one of the party's leaders.

The Republican governor has hardly been shy about most of his budget proposals. He wants to freeze the current public-employee pension system and create a new, less-generous retirement plan with some features of a 401(k). He's also seeking to save money by making employee health coverage less generous.

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Welcome to the Public Sector Managers' Association

The Public Sector Managers' Association, Inc. (PSMA) has been recognized by the State of New Jersey as the Constitutional Representative of all non- aligned/non-union managers in New Jersey government as of November 13, 1993 pursuant to Article 1, Paragraph 19 of the New Jersey State Constitution. PSMA's responsibility under that provision is to serve as a vehicle for two-way communication between the State as an employer and its managerial employees. The representation, however, is limited to managers who are PSMA dues-paying members of the State government. PSMA is a partner with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 30 which represents certain managers in State government. PSMA works closely with IBEW Local 30 on issues related to managers who are represented by IBEW Local 30 and those that are not eligible for representation.

PSMA's mission is to serve managers in New Jersey government by achieving and maintaining superior and ethical management service; promoting a high regard for our managers by those outside and within the government; and restoring equity to the human resource policies and practices of New Jersey government as they relate to managers.

Message From PSMA Board of Directors

To All PSMA Members, As a result of the formation of IBEW Local 30 the membership of PSMA has changed significantly. Most of the PSMA members were managers who were eligible to join IBEW Local 30 and have done so. As a result, the membership of PSMA has been reduced. However, PSMA, in partnership with IBEW Local 30, is continuing its mission of representing managers in State government who are not eligible at this time to be part of a union. To that end we are redoubling our efforts to modify the laws of the State to ultimately provide representation for these managers, and are actively seeking new members. We are also looking for non-IBEW eligible managers to be part of the Board of Directors.

In addition, our Retiree Network continues to grow and we are committed to support their efforts as well.

We will continue to update you in the future about our plans to strengthen the partnership with IBEW Local 30.

Tell Your Legislators to Fight for Our Pension and Health Benefits
March 28, 2015

Governor Christie has proposed to not make his full pension contribution in the FY16 budget, and still refuses to make the appropriate contribution for FY15. His Pension Commission has proposed a "Roadmap" which calls for more sacrifices on the part of public employees, particularly with regard to health benefits and the pension plan.

You need to tell our legislators that we have a law and a contract protecting our pensions and that the Governor cannot unilaterally change the rules of the game because he had a budget shortfall based upon his own inaccurate revenue forecasts; as well as the exorbitant fees of $600 million last year alone that were paid to financial firms to manage pension investments.

All PSMA members need to TAKE ACTION NOW and use our e-mail advocacy system to send an e-mail to your legislators!

(Click on Button Below to Send an Email to Your Legislators)

Opinion: Pension Commission Outlines a Roadmap For Sacrifice

By Barry Chalofsky/ March 09, 2015/

Without advance warning, Gov. Christie unveiled the final report of the Pension and Benefit Study Commission, "A Roadmap to Resolution: Report of the New Jersey Pension and Health Benefit Study," in his recent budget address. Under the roadmap, both active and retired employees would see a dramatic reduction in health benefits, and active employees would face radical changes to their pension system. All of this is set against a backdrop of the court's recent decision to require full funding of the pension and the governor's unwillingness to raise taxes.

It is important to note that the commission was unilaterally established by the governor without input by the Legislature or the unions. In addition, there was no representation by anyone who is in the retirement system. Nevertheless, I believe the commission did a credible job, considering the difficulty it faced of having to develop a solution that didn't require new taxes. In addition, it is clear there was a desire to "decouple" the unfunded liability from the budget and thus the credit rating process. I believe the commission's efforts were truly guided by trying to do the right thing, given its constraints.

However, I cannot agree with a number of the commission members' recommendations, for the simple fact that they rely on trusting the administration and a scenario that once again calls for public employees to make more sacrifices in order to ensure the state will live up to its renegotiated agreement to pay.

In essence, the roadmap calls for freezing the existing pension, creating a new pension system, reducing health benefits and divesting the state of its responsibility to run the pension fund. In return, the employees get a constitutional amendment that guarantees payments, but also allows the state to reduce pensions and benefits now, and again in the future!

Under the roadmap, the biggest beneficiary of the changes is the state, not the employees. With a pension freeze, the existing unfunded pension liability can be better predicted and reduced, because no additional employees would go into it. Under the new plan, the state would make an annual contribution of 4 percent of an employee's salary, which is also easy to predict. Most important, the unfunded pension liability is decoupled from the state budget if the plans become the responsibility of the unions and/or a trust, and the state simply has to meet a payment schedule. This should eliminate or greatly reduce Wall Street's concerns about the state's creditworthiness.

Obviously, reducing employee health benefits only is beneficial to the state - the employees have to pay more to get an inferior plan. As to the 18 percent share paid by employees stated in the plan, there are many state employees who pay a much greater share than that today - up to 35 percent for most managers and senior-level professionals. Would they get a reduction in premiums? Can they pay the difference for a better plan? These questions - and hundreds of others -- are details the commission doesn't answer.

Most important, the roadmap assumes the savings achieved by reducing the state's health care premium contribution will be used to offset the costs of the pensions. However, given the state's track record, it is difficult for public employees to trust that any savings would go toward pensions and not to other needs. Local officials are already saying they want the savings of their portion to go to them. Without new revenues, the state is unlikely to make its payments, regardless of the constitutional amendment, especially with other competing needs. More likely, in a few years, it would rely on the amendment and cut pensions and benefits again.

In July, the changes under the 2011 pension reform law pertaining to health benefits expire and new changes need to be explored. One recommendation is to consolidate all local, school, county and state health plans into one statewide health plan for everyone. This plan would be large enough to negotiate with considerable clout for reduced premiums and lower-cost services. Recently, Sen. Sweeney proposed a pilot program that would change how health care is delivered. If successful, this plan could form the basis for alternative health coverage. We may also need to re-examine the concept of early retirement.

With regard to the pension, I do not think it's a good idea to take the plan away from the state. If the state owns the plan, it is responsible for paying for it - even if it means raising taxes. This responsibility could be jeopardized if the plan is decoupled. Even though a constitutional amendment would require payments, courts could rule that since the plans are no longer under the jurisdiction of the state, then their viability may also not be the state's responsibility.

It is clear that we are still going down a perilous path, but there needs to be recognition that any new reforms must be based on trust and shared sacrifice - not ones by which the state wins and public employees lose.

IBEW Seeks to Organize X, Y, V and W Managers

Managers in X, Y, V, and W titles interested in learning how to organize with IBEW, please contact Joe Mastrogiovanni, Jr., IBEW Lead Organizer, at

N.J. Slashes Prescription Costs for Retired Public Workers

TRENTON - Gov. Chris Christie's administration has agreed to drastically roll back prescription copays for thousands of retired public employees after illegally raising them in 2013, NJ Advance Media has learned.

The deal follows a ruling from a state appeals court in December that New Jersey's pension division overstepped its authority when it hiked the drug rates following celebrated pension reforms Christie enacted in 2011.

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