Monday, September 28th, 2020
   

Abridged Report Executive Committee Meeting

Abridged Report with Attachments

ABRIDGED REPORT EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING

NEW JERSEY STATE FIREMEN’S ASSOCIATION

VIRTUAL MEETING ORIGINATING IN WALL TOWNSHIP NEW JERSEY

July 18, 2020

The meeting was called to order by President Ordway at 8:00A.M in accordance with the New Jersey Open Public Meetings Act. He stated that notice of this meeting was posted on the New Jersey State Firemen’s website as required pursuant to the provisions of the Open Public Meetings Act (Chapter 231, P.L. 1975).

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

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was held. First Assistant Secretary Brian Martone announced that all members were present EXCEPT President Emeritus Greenwald who was excused.

EXECUTIVE SESSION:

A motion was made by Executive Committeeman Lane to go into Executive Session at 8:05am. seconded by Executive Committeeman Kelly Passed

A motion was made by Executive Committeeman Figueroa to adjourn the Executive Session and go into Regular Session, seconded by Executive Committeeman Phillips. Motion Carried.

Meeting resumed in regular session at 9am.

The Regular Session of the meeting was called to order by President Ordway at 9:00A.M in accordance with the New Jersey Open Public Meetings Act. He stated that notice of this meeting was posted on the New Jersey State Firemen’s website as required pursuant to the provisions of the Open Public Meetings Act (Chapter 231, P.L. 1975).

SALUTE TO THE FLAG: Vice President Hankins led everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance.

MOMENT OF SILENCE: A Moment of Silence was observed for our deceased members and everyone was also asked to remember President Emeritus Ernest Greenwald who could not make the meeting due to illness, and also our First Responders and our Service Men around the world.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

The Abridged Minutes of the May 16, 2020 Executive Committee Meeting and the May 30, 2020 Special Executive Committee were approved as distributed on a motion by Executive Committeeman Fazekas seconded by Executive Committeeman Figueroa. Motion Carried.

COMMUNICATIONS:

Secretary Pelaia said there was no current Communications other than those in your packet.

OFFICERS REPORTS:

Vice President Hankins report: He reported the following:

1) There is a flyer in your packets regarding our Relationship with Amazon. Our relationship allows our Associations to sign up and receive priority on certain items. Any Association interested in participating should send Vice President Hankins your e-mail address and he will then make the proper arrangements.

2) Due to the pandemic we will not be having any workshops soon. We now have a ZOOM account and we hope to begin to present workshops via ZOOM.

3) He stated that he presented a Facebook Live presentation on the upcoming Caucuses/Convention. He received over 2000 views over 2 days. He hopes to continue with this venue also,

4) We also purchased a genealogy program to assist us in locating deceased members who have not received a Burial Benefit. Since we purchased it, Beth in our office has located 200 members and their families have now received the benefit.

5) We have relocated one of the staff members to another part of the building to maintain Social Distancing. We were working with a reduced staff for a while. Vice President Hankins stated that during this period the girls worked above and beyond to keep up with things, He publicly thanked Jennifer, Brittany, Denise, and Beth for their hard work.

Secretary Pelaia’s Report: In addition to his written report, his verbal remarks are:

1) All of the current Executives have filed their petition to run for re-election. Currently no Executive has opposition, but the deadline is Monday July 20 for anyone else who wants to file.

2) Petitions have been received for candidates whose term is up for the Board of Managers to the Firemen’s Home. At this time there is one county where more than one candidate filed so there will be an election at their caucus. Bergen County will also have a Special Election for a Manager, due to John Veras being named Superintendent at the Home. Due to the late date of his appointment, deadline for petitions in Bergen was extended to August 3, 2020.

3) At the caucuses, this year a packet of information will be given to Delegates and Life Members which will include their Executive’s Report along with written speeches and reports that will normally be given at the Convention. Executives were reminded to submit their report to me no later than 1 week before your caucus.

4) The Convention workers who the Executives appointed to work at the Convention have been asked to work at their respective caucuses. They will be assigned their duties when they arrive at the caucus.

First Assistant Secretary Martone’s Report: He reported that the Senate is introducing bill S- 1634 and the Assembly is introducing bill A – 3835 regarding the increase in age for Membership. Currently the proposed legislation sets the age at 60 instead of 57. The officers have been in touch with the sponsors. The Senate amendment has been drafted by the Office of Legislative Services and the assembly amendments are in the process of being drafted. Both sponsors have agreed to the amendment.

Second Assistant Secretary Report: He is currently working on a Virtual Memorial Service since the convention has been cancelled. He has reached out to last year’s participants for any input that they would like to put into this service. Once completed it will be on our website for everyone to view. He is hoping that we can put future Memorial services on the web page.

Treasurer Osborn’s Report: His report is in the packet and he has nothing verbal to report.

Field Examiner Report: In addition to his written report he has 2 items:

1) This year’s Field Exams are on hold due to the pandemic.

2) He has reviewed the Relief Applications submitted by the Associations that were to have Field Exams in the spring. His comments were sent to the Associations and to the Executive Committee Person. He recommends that the Executive review the report with the association and assist them with any corrections.

Counsel Cavallo reported: Nothing for Open Session

President’s Report: He reported the following:

1) The Office will be closed on September 7 in honor of Labor Day.

2) He reminded all that the second Quarter Quarterly Relief Report is due on July 30.

3) Associations that submitted manual Quarterly Reports and manual Notice of Death Reports are being reminded that effective January 1, 2021 that they will have to be submitted online.

4) As of this meeting there is only 1 Association not being seated.

5) If any Executive receives a change of address, phone number or e-mail address for one of their Association’s officers , he asked that they submit them to Secretary Pelaia so that he can update the State’s files.

6) If an officer of an Association has trouble signing on to the website please have them call the office for assistance.

7) He will send out current numbers and percentages of some of our statistics. They will be attached to this report.

8) He reported that many associations are using email to send in Bank Statements. The email address is bankstatements@njsfa.com. Also, Local reports should be e-mailed to localreports@njsfa.com.

9) There are elections in 6 counties for Board of Managers for the Firemen’s Home. 5 are for a full 4 year term (Camden, Monmouth, Salem, Somerset and Warren), and 1 for a 1 year unexpired term (Bergen) Petitions have been received for all of the counties, There are 2 contested elections (Bergen and Monmouth).

10) There are 2 ballots questions this year for the State Elections: 1) Accepting the transcript of the Red Book as the official minutes of the 2019 Convention and 2) Having the State Secretary casting 1 vote affirming the election of the Executive Committee and Board of Managers at the respective county caucuses.

11) He reminded everyone that the caucuses this year will be walk through caucuses with voting to begin at 6pm and end at 8pm. If the registration computers and voting machines are ready before 6 voting may begin earlier. Also, if there is a line waiting to vote at 8pm, voting will not be closed until everyone has had an opportunity to vote. He reiterated that once the machines are closed there will be no more voting that evening. The Manual Ballots for Executive Committee and Managers will be tallied that evening. The only number that will be taken from the machines on the evening of the caucus for State Officers will be the number of votes cast. The machines will be opened on August 28 at 9:30am at the State Office and the tally of votes for the Officers and Ballot Questions will be counted then. There will be no results counted before all caucuses are completed.

COMMITTEE REPORTS:

ADVISORY/ SPECIAL / SUPPLEMNTAL COMMITTEE: Executive Committeeman Mellert stated that the reports are in your packet.

COMPENDIUM COMMITTEE: Chairman Lane reported that his report is in the packets. Executive Committeeman Naylis questioned the committee’s decision regarding not changing the percentages on the Membership Reports. He said that he had brought to the attention of the committee that the number of drills. Some members have approached him about increasing the number of drills for qualification. He said that some Associations have training drills once a week. They feel that since training is a vital part of the job that they should receive more credit than 24. Some Associations request that we allow for 4 drills a month which will give them the opportunity to get credit for 48 months. Executive Committeeman Roemmich then said that his Department has an average of 200 calls per year. If a member makes all 48 drills. He would then have to only make 14 fires. Some of his members feel that if there was a drill a week, his members will not have to respond to any calls. Executive Committeeman Spiegel said that he favors more training but agrees with Executive Roemmich that we need to have a good response to fires. Executive Committeeman Kurdyla said that maybe if we increase the number of drills, maybe we should put a minimum number, or a percentage of fire calls a member needs to make along with the training to qualify. ( At this time Committeeman Walker had to leave the meeting due to a family obligation).

Executive Committeeman Scheuer then remarked that he is against increasing the number of drills. He feels that is something that can be handled by the local department. He feels that the State Association should only use 24 drills towards qualification. If a Department wants to give more credit for local percentages , that is what should be done. Executive Committeeman Handlin agreed with Executive Committeeman Scheuer saying that it should be done on a local basis, and not for the State Association. Executive Committeeman Kelly also agreed that this should be handled locally for other benefits. Executive Committeeman Lane also agreed with leaving the number of drills at 24 and that it should be handled at the local level. President Ordway then asked Executive Committeeman Naylis to put his recommendations in writing to the Compendium Committee for further discussion. Executive Committeeman Naylis agreed and said he will also include a tiered schedule to his recommendations also.

DELEGATE AND LIFE MEMBER COMMITTEE: No Report. President Ordway also reminded everyone that there will be a $100.00 stipend for Delegates and a $50.00 stipend for Life Members who attend the caucus. He also reminded all that all Alternates must have the Alternate delegate form signed by an officer of the local Association. He also reminded everyone that caucus delegates will receive 2 credits towards their Life Membership. This will not be reported on the caucus attendance sheets that the Secretaries will receive after the caucus since those credits will not be posted until after all caucuses are completed.

FINANCE COMMITTEE: Treasurer Osborn reported that The Finance Committee’s report has been distributed. The Actuary Report has been held up by the current pandemic and the actuaries also want to see the June 30 Financial Report.

FIREMEN’S HOME COMMITTEE: Chairman Otterbein reported that John Veras, the current Bergen County Manager has been elected by the Board as the New Superintendent to the Home. He brought everyone up to date with the new Memory Care Facility construction. There have been some “hiccups”. He stated that there are currently 6 change orders. Currently there are 36 guests in the Home and sadly 25 guests have passed away since his last report. There was discussion on having an independent audit done with the retirement of the Superintendent and 2 people in the finance department. For cost reasons they decided to have the current auditor do the audit. Executive Committeeman Handlin stated that he feels we should insist on an independent audit since the Finance Department has all new employees and there is a new Superintendent. President Ordway explained that the current auditors had a peer review last year and the Firemen’s Home was one of their accounts that was audited, and they passed the audit with “Flying Colors”. Executive Committeeman Kelly inquired if the New Superintendent was licensed care facility manager. President Ordway said that they received 14 applications for Superintendent and only one was licensed, He did not know if Mr. Veras was licensed. Executive Committeeman Kelly had 2 comments. First, he is disappointed that the managers did not choose a licensed care facility manager for a multi-million-dollar operation and he was disappointed that they did not appoint an independent auditor as mentioned above. Executive Committeeman Lane also agreed with Executive Committeeman Kelly’s remarks and inquired about the change orders especially where the connection to the old building is concerned. It was not immediately known but the committee will follow up.

HEALTH CARE ASSISTANCE COMMITTEE: Written report has been distributed. He also stated that there was a meeting with his committee including the Officers to discuss allowing widows and spouses to apply for the health care benefit beginning January 1, 2021. It was the committee’s recommendation that spouses, and widows may apply for up to $600.00 per month and it will be voted on under new business.

LEGISLATIVE: First Assistant Secretary Martone stated the report has been distributed. He also stated that A3945 was signed by the Governor. It was a bill that we were following concerning accidental benefits for Career Firefighters who contact Covid 19 while they are performing their duties.

Long Range Planning Committee: No Report

PENSION COMMITTEE: No Report

RESOLUTION COMMITTEE: No Report.

SALARY COMMITTEE: Executive Committeeman Phillips reported that is report is in the packets and action will be taken under New Business.

FIRE SAFETY COMMISSION – Executive Committeeman Naylis reported that the July meeting was cancelled, and the next meeting is scheduled for September if possible.

APPLICATIONS: President Ordway reported that he has been in discussions with Former President Gunson and Executive Committeeman Lenarski regarding the proposed merger in Hamilton Township.

OLD BUSINESS:

1) President Ordway reiterated what Field Examiner Kenny reported about rescheduling the Field Exams.

2) Caucuses will begin in a week and a half. We have had many meetings in the office regarding the caucuses and hopefully all will go well.

NEW BUSINESS:

1) A motion was made by Executive Committeeman Spiegel, Seconded by Executive Committeeman Fazekas to accept the Health Care Committee’s recommendation to include spouses and widows of qualified members who are not remarried to the Health Care Benefit program at $600.00 per month. Executive Committeeman Naylis commented that if we were to have 100 applications, it would cost about $300,000.00 a year which we can afford at this time. He applauds the Committee for a job well done. Executive Committeeman Kelly said as part of the committee, at first, he was not in favor of it at this time but after the committee presented it he felt it was well worth it, changing his mind. Executive Committeeman Scheuer commented that he was going to abstain also because he never received his packet. After hearing everyone’s comments he said that he was now in favor of the motion. President Ordway informed all that we are going to review all of the mailing services because the Post Office is lacking in getting us our mail in a normal timeframe. On a Roll Call vote: Passed 20-0 -1 absent.

2) A motion was made by Executive Committeeman Lane seconded by Executive Committeeman Handlin to give an increase of $1500.00 to the Field Examiner’s salary . Passed 19-0 1-1 Abstention, 1 no present.

3)Executive Committeeman Otterbein questioned the movement from September 17 to September 19. After discussion it was recommended to reschedule the meeting to September 12. On a voice vote passed 20-0

PUBLIC COMMENT:

James Bainbridge from Pennington Relief Association stated that he was disconnected during the discussion regarding the increase in Drills on the Membership Report. President Ordway responded that it has been referred to the Compendium Committee for further discussion and it will be brought to the floor at the September or November Executive Committee Meeting.

GOOD OF THE ORDER

1) President Ordway thanked everyone for their cooperation and patience with these zoom meetings. He knows that we are in tough times and appreciates everyone’s assistance.

2) Executive Committeeman Handlin thanked Vice President Hankins for disseminating information through Facebook Live. He has received feedback that they are very informative and appreciated. He also wished Executive Committeeman Mazzarella a Happy Birthday.

3) Secretary Pelaia asked if every Executive received a packet for today’s meeting. He stated that due the Post Office not delivering the packets in a timely manner for last month’s meeting, he sent this packet a different way. There were 2 Executives that did not receive their packets. Secretary Pelaia will continue to find a better way.

4) There was a question on the chat inquiring if the State Association’s Tax Form 990 has been filed. Treasurer Osborne responded yes.

5) Executive Committeeman Naylis thanked the Officers and Office Staff for their leadership this past year. Everything thing he hears about the Association and the he administration is very positive. He says the Association is moving in the right direction, especially with the Health Care Program which he feels is going to be the “Sterling Jewel” of the Association.

6) Executive Committeeman Spiegel questioned Vice President Hankins if he thought we should get a Facebook page for the Association, rather than using his private page. Vice President Hankins responded that he has no problem using his page, the members ask questions and they are answered. He said by getting our own page we would have to get someone to continually update it. He stated that he will investigate it and for the time being we can continue to use his page.

Executive Committeemen Kelly and Lane both echoed the comments of Mr. Naylis and both men endorsed the current slate of Officers for the coming year,

ADJOURNMENT: On a motion by Executive Committeeman Florio, seconded by Executive Committeeman Otterbein the meeting was adjourned at 10:41am.

Respectfully submitted,

Thomas J. Pelaia

Secretary

 
 
 

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