Saturday, December 14th, 2019
   

Abridged Report Executive Committee Meeting

NEW JERSEY STATE FIREMEN’S ASSOCIATION

Kenilworth, N.J. Saturday November 14, 2015

The meeting was called to order by President George Heflich, Sr. at 9:00 A.M.. in accordance with the New Jersey Open Public Meetings Act.  He stated notice of this meeting was posted on the New Jersey State Firemen’s Association website as required pursuant to the provisions of the Open Public Meeting Act (Chapter 231, P.L.1975) and sent via mail to all local relief association secretaries.

Vice President Frank Gunson led everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.

Executive Committeeman Konrad Mellert (Warren) gave the invocation and led everyone in a moment of silent prayer.

 

OATH OF OFFICE FOR OFFICERS AND EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE:

Counsel Frank Cavallo administered the Oath of Office to all Officers and to all Executive Committeemen.

 

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was held.  First Assistant Secretary Jake Genovay announced that all members were present with the exception of Executive Committeeman Daniel Speigel from Cape May County and Assistant Counsel Stacy Moore, both of whom were excused. 

 

PUBLIC COMMENT:

President Heflich opened the meeting to public comment by stating the New Jersey State Firemen’s Association welcomes comments from members of the audience.  He further stated that the secretary will note all comments and that because of this he asked that anyone speaking to state their name and address before speaking and to keep their comments to a 3 minute time limit.  Concerns stated or actions requested by the public will be taken under advisement by the Executive Committee for investigation, discussion and action or disposition at a later time and date. 

Joseph Stauffer, Executive Committeeman from Hudson County and Secretary of the Jersey City Firemen’s Relief Association spoke of the matter of John Ferry, deceased member from the Jersey City FD.

Michael Cleary, Treasurer of the Jersey City Firemen’s Relief Association (FRA) stated the Jersey City FRA was seeking a waiver to admit Mr. Ferry as a member of the New Jersey State Firemen’s Association so that his death benefit may be paid.  Mr. Cleary further stated that the Jersey City FRA would pay the death benefit out of their local funds.  Mr. Ferry’s application for membership was never received in the New Jersey State Firemen’s Association office. 

Mr. Finnegan asked when Mr. Ferry joined the Jersey City FD.  He was told that Mr. Ferry joined the JCFD between 9 and 11 years ago.  Mr. Ferry only recently filled out an application to join the New Jersey State Firemen’s Association. 

Mr. Kelly asked if the Jersey City FRA is taking steps to identify those Jersey City firefighters who are not members of the New Jersey State Firemen’s Association.  Mr. Cleary stated that outreach is underway with completed applications now being hand delivered to the state association office. 

Mr. Schoenstein asked for a clarification on a comment in the physical portion of the application.

Mr. Walker acknowledged the efforts of the Jersey City FRA on behalf of Mr. Ferry and his family.  With that said, Mr. Walker stated that he feared that acting in opposition to the rules established for membership would open the door for individuals to disregard the rules when applying for membership. 

Mr. Reeves stated that the Advisory Committee reviewed the paperwork, which lacked appropriate signatures and proper seals.

Mr. Hankins asked what amount of death benefit Mr. Ferry’s family would receive if he were a member.  Answer - $6,100.

Motion by Mr. Stauffer, seconded by Mr. Walker to grant membership to John Ferry posthumously.  On a roll call vote, there were 1 for and 19 against.  Motion defeated. 

Wayne Dilks of the Linwood FRA spoke to the Executive Board.  He stated he appeared at the May meeting and September meeting of the Executive Board seeking to appeal the non-seating of the Linwood FRA at the annual convention for late filing of required reports or paperwork. 

President Heflich stated the decision rests with the Executive Committee.

Mr. Dilks commented on another FRA that submitted their report which was received on October 16, one day after the deadline.  President Heflich stated that the document in question had been sent certified mail, return receipt requested and was postmarked before the deadline. 

Mr. Dilks gave President Heflich a letter that was stamped in as received.

There being no else present that wished to be heard Public Comment was closed. 

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

The Abridged minutes of the September 17, 2015 Executive Board meeting were approved with some corrections on a motion by Mr. Mc Nulty, seconded by Mr. Phillips.  Motion carried.

 

COMMUNICATIONS:

From:   Kevin Finnegan, Executive Committeeman – Morris County
     To:       Middlesex County Relief Associations
     From:   Legislative Committee
     To:       All Local Relief Associations
     To:       All Local Secretaries
     To:       Edward T. Buckley, Barnegat FRA
     From:   Sussex County FRA
     From:   South Amboy FRA
     To:       Jersey City FRA
     From:   Robert Kelly, Executive Committee – Monmouth County
     From:   Frank B. Gunson, 3rd
     From:   Robert Ordway, Executive Committee – Bergen County
     From:   Neil J. Gallo, Executive Committee – Somerset County

A motion was made by Mr. Ordway that the communications be filed.  Second by Mr. Lane.  Motion carried.

 

LIFE MEMBERS

Mr. Ordway made a motion to elect 334 Life Members.  Second by Mr. Lane.  Motion carried.

 

OFFICER REPORTS:

President Heflich reported: Written report distributed.

President Heflich spoke on the convention.  He stated that he was going to county meetings to address concerns raised at the convention. 

President Heflich stated while attending a meeting in Monmouth County he was asked if he was going to fire the association attorney.  His answer was that that decision rests with the Executive Committee.  President Heflich also commented on the question regarding recruitment and retention.  He mentioned that the NJSFA does not have focus on recruiting members to the fire service and that the question was better asked of the New Jersey Division of Fire Safety. 

Vice President Gunson reported: Written report distributed.

Vice President Gunson stated that the membership report was modified and updated to reflect questions that are being received on LOSAP.  He also mentioned that he spoke with the state association’s voting machine vendor.  The vendor told Vice President Gunson that the NJSFA may need new machines. The vendor said it would not be feasible to use regular voting machines as it would take too long.  At one convention where he used them for about 3,800 voters using eight to ten machines, it took over six hours to complete the vote. He did not recommend it.  On the issue of printing of ballots the night before the election the vendor asserted that it was just not feasible for a variety of reasons to accomplish the printing of ballots the night before the meeting. 

Vice President Gunson thanked First Assistant Secretary Genovay and Second Assistant Secretary Naylis for all of the extra time, effort and work that they have put in to assist the Association for the past two months. 

Secretary’s report:    Written report distributed.

Treasurer Osborn reported:

The CPA’s report will be mailed as soon as it is received. 

Field Examiner Kenny reported: Written report distributed.

The audits and financial reviews had been completed.

December 1 is the deadline for special and supplemental relief applications.

Counsel Cavallo reported:

The sale of the East Orange property has been completed.  Approximately $53,000 in judgments was withheld in escrow.  Of that amount, $51,000 is the bulk property transfer tax, which the NJSFA is not subject to. 

COMMITTEE REPORTS:

ADVISORY COMMITTEE – report distributed.

SPECIAL RELIEF – report distributed.  The committee is looking at revisions to benefit levels.

LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE – report distributed.

PENSION COMMITTEE –routine business discussed.

            FINANCE COMMITTEE – report distributed.

SALARY COMMITTEE – nothing to report.

RESOLUTION COMMITTEE – nothing to report.

COMPENDIUM COMMITTEE – Chairman Mc Nulty reported that the committee met on October 14.  They addressed the following items:      

 

  1. Who can make motions?  The statutes are clear that only representatives can make motions.
  2. Can trustees be allowed to vote?  Again, the statutes are clear in that only representatives can make a motion and vote.
  3. The status of life members was discussed.  Individuals are life members of the NJSFA, not the local Firemen’s Relief Association.  That said, anyone who is a member of the local FRA may be a representative, trustee or elected officer.  The person need not be an active firefighter.
  4. On the issue of voting and political activity at the convention, activity is not permitted within 100 ft. of the polling place.
  5. On the issue of appeals, the committee continues to believe that the Executive Committee should deny appeals for failing to file necessary reports and paperwork in a timely manner. 

N.J. FIREMEN’S HOME – 3 members of the Executive Committee attended the October meeting of the Board of Managers. 

CONSOLIDATION COMMITTEE – No report.

DELEGATE AND LIFE MEMBER COMMITTEE – No report.

BUILDING COMMITTEE –Still looking at potential sites. 

APPLICATIONS:                None

OLD BUSINESS:

Mr. Hankins reported that the committee is recommending Kevin Finnegan to be the secretary.

Motion was made Mr. Mellert to appoint Kevin Finnegan as Secretary of the NJSFA, seconded by Mr. Kelly.  Motion carried.

The issue of penalties for theft will be carried over to the February Executive Board meeting.

Mr. Lane attended the Firemen’s Home reorganization meeting and they spoke about the Klondike Room renovations.  The Home estimated that it would cost $50 thousand and bids came in above $150 thousand.  He questioned what expertise they have in this area and wondered was this same approach used to develop the $6 million estimated cost for the second Firemen’s Home. 

Mr. Kelly stated that in the Firemen’s Home minutes that it reflected that the managers wanted no information about the affairs of the NJSFA to be discussed at their meeting.  He was disappointed by this comment.

Mr. Mc Nulty asked if the Home was subject to any laws relative to purchasing.  Counsel Cavallo stated they would be subject to laws relative to procurement, i.e. bids, thresholds, etc.

A motion was made by Mr. Mc Nulty and seconded by Mr. Phillips to go into Executive Session at 9:55 AM for approximately thirty minutes.  Motion carried.

EXECUTIVE SESSION:  9:55 A.M. TO 10:58 A.M.

A motion was made by Mr. Kelly and seconded by Mr. Gallo to return to regular business.  Motion approved.

Counsel Cavallo stated that during the course of the Executive Session no official action whatsoever was taken by the Executive Committee.

NEW BUSINESS:

A motion was made by Mr. Ordway and seconded by Mr. Mc Nulty to approve the Delegate and Alternate Resolutions.  Motion carried.

A motion was made by Mr. Mc Nulty and seconded by Mr. Ordway to rescind the Resolution made in July to withhold assessment checks and withhold payments to Life Members attending the convention if the $6 million dollars was included in the Firemen’s Home budget.  Motion carried unanimously on a roll call vote, twenty in the affirmative.

A motion was made by Mr. Ordway and seconded by Mr. Pelaia to nominate Mr. Dreby as Chairman of the Executive Committee.  Motion carried.

A motion was made by Mr. Lenarski and seconded by Mr. Ordway to nominate Mr. Kelly as Secretary of the Executive Committee.  Motion carried.

A motion was made by Mr. Lane to reinstate East Orange FRA as it has been rebuilt since being put out of accord based on information supplied by Mr. Pelaia.  A second was made by Mr. Ordway.  Motion carried unanimously on a roll call vote, twenty in the affirmative.

Mr. Stauffer explained that Harrison FRA forgot to submit their Delegate/Life Member Expense Sheets on time.  The Treasurer brought them to the Hudson County Field Exam at Secaucus but forgot to turn them into the Field Examiner.  Mr. Stauffer made a motion to seat Harrison FRA.  Motion failed due to a lack of a second.  A motion was made by Mr. Kelly and seconded by Mr. Scheuer not to seat Harrison FRA.  On a roll call vote the motion was carried, 19 votes in the affirmative and one negative.

Vice President Gunson stated we still have two associations under our review for any checks that are written and four that we are running right now for relief and life member expenses.

Mr. Hankins asked the names of the Executive Committee members who were assigned to the Long Term Care Committee.  President Heflich informed him that the members were:  John Lane, Konrad Mellert and James Reeves.

Mr. Kelly made a motion to reaffirm that there are no appeals for non-seating due to late filings and that there will be no further discussions on the matter of the two Atlantic County FRA’S, Linwood and Port Republic, unless they come to a meeting and present their case under the Open Session.  Seconded by Mr. Florio.  Motion passed on a roll call vote with 19 votes in the affirmative with 1 abstention.

President Heflich asked Counsel about an email he received this morning from a Charles Lind from Jersey City regarding denial of membership in the NJSFA due to an application not being received by the state office.  A motion was made by Mr. Phillips and seconded by Mr. Finnegan to direct Counsel to send a letter to Mr. Lind asking for a retraction and that the retraction be sent to everyone the original email was sent to.  Motion carried on a roll call vote with 19 votes in the affirmative with 1 abstention.

Mr. Finnegan asked when the Special Caucus would be held for his replacement and which years delegates would vote.  Vice President Gunson stated that it would be 2015 delegates.  We are looking for a date in early January for the caucus.

Mr. Ordway, as well as Mr. Walker, stated that, as it was discussed in Executive Session, he asked about the 2015 Convention and what occurred on the dais.   As both the President and Executive Committee were “besmirched”, it was felt that it should be discussed in Open Session for the general membership to know what transpired. 

Counsel Cavallo stated that “First, let me say that none of the Executive Committeemen nor the President or Officers were aware of exactly what could occur at the Friday session of the Convention.  I, as the Counsel for the Association, did not tell any of them.  In hindsight, as I have indicated to you gentlemen, on a couple of other occasions, both verbally and in writing, in hindsight, probably – in fact, I know I should have discussed this with you in executive session on Thursday so that you were aware – Thursday September 17th – so that you were aware of what could occur in the event that certain pieces fell into place.”  …

“The process that I discussed from the floor that day that I undertook was reviewing the statute that governs this organization, reviewing the bylaws and reviewing the state statutes dealing with elections.  I had to look at these state statutes because, by the Appellate Division’s decision in 2013, we were declared to be a public entity.”

“As such, the laws that govern elections of public entities now governed us.  Regardless of what our bylaws say, we can’t have bylaws that contradict state statute.  We can’t have bylaws that put in place procedures that contradict state statutes.  And that’s why the Compendium Committee is going to look at those procedures and make sure that they are in step with the state statutes.  And that’s what we need to do.”

“So, according to the state law – state statute and the case law that interprets those statutes, you cannot run simultaneously for two offices.  It is not legal.”

Mr. Cavallo continued describing the legal procedures which have to be followed and the need to change the Compendium to conform “to state statutes, because by the Appellate Division’s decision in 2013, we were declared to be Public Entity.”

Mr. Schoenstein raised questions regarding Title 19 pertaining to elections and our Compendium which are in conflict.  The Compendium Committee will be meeting in January, 2016 to discuss changes to the Compendium.

Mr. Mellert was asked by the Phillipsburg FRA for the Executive Committee to look into the possibility of a one day convention.

Mr. Ordway asked about the possibility of simulcasting the convention thru the website similar to how it is now done to the Home for those members who cannot attend but would like to view the proceedings.  It will be looked into.

 

GOOD OF THE ORDER:

Vice President Gunson stated the Compendium books are at the printers.

President Heflich asked for the Committeemen’s suggestions to improve the “We’d Like You to Know…The New Jersey State Firemen’s Association”

Mr. Ordway mentioned that former Cape May County Committeeman Robert “Howdy” Harvey passed away after our last meeting.  He served his county with distinction and always represented it well.  He will be missed here.

Mr. Walker led congratulations by the Officers and Executive Committeemen to Kevin Finnegan on his appointment to Secretary.  Kevin thanked all.

Mr. Dreby thanked all for their confidence in him being elected Chairman of the Executive Committee.

Mr. Mazzarella thanked all for their warm welcome to the Committee and he looks forward to working with each and everyone.

Being no further business, a motion was made by Mr. Mellert and seconded by Mr. Pelaia to adjourn.  Motion approved.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 11:58 A.M.

 

Respectfully Submitted,
Kevin B. Finnegan Signature
Kevin B. Finnegan
Secretary

We request that this report and all future reports be reviewed at your local relief meetings and so noted in your minutes.

 
 
 

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