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1711 Route 34 South
Wall Township, New Jersey
07727-3934

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Abridged Report Executive Committee Meeting

Abridged Report with Attachments

ABRIDGED REPORT OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING

NEW JERSEY STATE FIREMEN’S ASSOCIATION

WALL TOWNSHIP, NEW JERSEY

NOVEMBER 19, 2022


The meeting was called to order by President Ordway at 9am 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 Association website as required, pursuant to the provisions of the Open Public Meetings Act (Chapter 231, P.L. 1975). The fire exits were pointed out.

Vice President Hankins led everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Executive Committeeman Mellert gave the invocation.

OATH OF OFFICE:

Counsel Cavallo swore in the Officers and Executive Committee for their current term.

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was held. First Assistant Secretary Brian Martone announced that all members were present except for Executive Committeewoman Badger, who was excused. Also present were Past Secretary Sanford Weinberg, Ocean County Firemen’s Home Manager Roger Hull, Morris County Firemen’s Home Manager Gary Keyser, Morris Plains FRA Secretary Mark Belles and Jersey City FRA Treasurer Michael Cleary.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

The Abridged Minutes and Verbatim Minutes of the September 15, 2022, Executive Committee meeting were approved as distributed on a motion by Executive Committeeman Fazekas, seconded by Executive Committeeman Handlin.Motion Carried 20-0.

COMMUNICATIONS:

Secretary Pelaia said there was a letter received from Executive Committeeman Lenarski recommending that Hopewell Township FRA 162 be removed from “Under Review” status.

LIFE MEMBERS:

Secretary Pelaia reported that 327 members achieved their Life Membership this year. A motion was made by Executive Committeeman Kelly and seconded by Executive Committeeman Lane to grant Life Membership to all members who attained it at this year’s convention.Motion Carried, 20-0. A list of those members is in the packets and attached to these minutes.

OFFICERS REPORTS:

Vice President Hankins:In addition to his written report:

1) He asked all Executive Committeemen to submit the time and location of their 2023 caucuses as soon as possible.

2) He stated that all Applications for Membership, Relief and Health Care are processed by our staff as soon as we receive them. We have no control over the post office and sometimes they take a week to get to us. He asked all executives to relay this to their associations.

3) The minor league baseball team, the Jersey Shore Blue Claws, gave us complimentary tickets to some of their games this past season. The tickets were distributed at the Morris and Ocean County caucuses. He has agreed to meet with the Blue Claws this year to further this program.

4) The New Jersey Firefighters Memorial and Museum is in need of volunteers to assist when the museum is open. Please pass this along to your associations.

Secretary Pelaia:He had no written report but reported the following:

1) There will be two resolutions to be voted on under New Business regarding the 2023 convention. Both are the standard resolutions approved each year to have the associations elect delegates and an exempt delegate to the convention.

2) Certificates and pins for the 327 Life Members approved this morning will be sent to the association secretaries within the next two weeks.

3) We will be voting to remove Hopewell Township from “Under Review” status later in the meeting.

4) Beginning in 2023, it will be mandatory that the 2022 Active Membership reports (GREEN SHEETS) and the 2022 Financial Standing report be done online. The reports must be finalized online, printed, signed, and then sent to us via e-mail or fax. Instructions will be sent out in mid-December.

5) Officer Listings (due February 1) and Report of Delegates elected (due May 1) will also be done online, as they were last year.

4) An update to the compendium is progressing. The Revised Statutes chapter has been completed. There are several items under New Business that are either modifications or additions to the Rules and Regulations chapter which are being voted on today. Once approved we will then complete the updates and have the updated compendium put online.

First Assistant Secretary Brian Martone:No report.

Second Assistant Secretary Dreby:

1) The 2022 Memorial Service is now online. It is on the website’s home page under the Annual Memorial Services tab.

Treasurer Mullen:

  • The 2021 audit is complete and has been distributed to all executives and will be part of these minutes.

2) The State Association’s 990 tax return has been filed with the IRS.

3) He is working on having the IRS penalties dismissed for the associations that received them. Most of these penalties were issued because the association filed manually instead of online.

Field Examiner Hollingsworth:Her report is in your packet. Additionally:

1) Attached to her report is information regarding the number of members receiving the health care benefit in nursing homes both in state and out of state, with the amount paid year to date.

2) She has been working on streamlining the activities in her office to better assist the members who file applications.

Counsel Cavallo:No Report

Assistant Counsel Morris: No Report

President Ordway:

1) The State Office will be closed November 24th& 25thin observance of the Thanksgiving holiday. The State Office will be closed starting Monday, December 26thfor the winter break and will reopen Tuesday, January 3rd. We will also be closed on Monday January 16thand Monday, February 20th.

2) Field Exams: If your county is scheduled for a field exam next spring, please respond to the Field Examiner with the date and place ASAP. Beginning in 2023 there will be no field exams done here in our office during business hours. If you cannot make it to your field exam, you will have two options: a) you must notify the office that you will attend a field exam in another county, or b) attend a one-day makeup date held here in our office on a Saturday where your exam will be done.

3) Applications for Special Relief & Supplemental Relief need to be received in the NJSFA State Office by Thursday, December 1 to be processed for this calendar year. He reminded everyone that Local Relief granted for 2022 must be paid by December 31.

4) The Annual Financial report will be available online shortly. This year you will have to enter each bank account separately along with interest. If you closed an account this past year, you should just enter a 0. If there was interest gained in that account, you should enter this figure. This will also assist you if you have an issue. The Year-end Relief Paid report consolidates the four (4) quarterly reports into one year-end report showing the total paid per individual in that association. Once the 4thquarter is finalized, the relief paid information can automatically be transferred over to the Annual Relief paid for the year.

5.Officer Listings are due no later than December 31. REMEMBER: The compendium states that officer elections are to be held in December.

6) The 2023 convention will be held on September 15-16. Registration will be from 7am to 11am both days. Friday’s session will start at 11am with a few items handled by the dais; then the Memorial Service will start. The rest of business will continue at the conclusion of the Memorial Service. Saturday will once again be voting only, between 7am and 11am, the same as last year. The Verona Fire Department requested to be the Honor Guard and it has been approved.

.

COMMITTEE REPORTS:

ADVISORY/ SPECIAL / SUPPLEMENTAL COMMITTEE:Executive Committeeman Mellert stated that his report is in the packets.

COMPENDIUM COMMITTEE:Executive Committeeman Walker has a report in the packets, to be discussed under New Business.

DELEGATE AND LIFE MEMBER COMMITTEE:No report.

FINANCE COMMITTEE:The Finance Committee report has been submitted and is attached to the minutes.

HEALTH CARE ASSISTANCE COMMITTEE:The report has been submitted.

INVESTMENT COMMITTEE:No report. President Ordway stated that Valley Bank is paying 3.7% interest on checking accounts that are linked as a government account. Our association and local associations fall under “government entity”. Therefore, if your association currently HAS a checking account or is opening a new checking account, please make sure that it is classified as such and that you will be receiving this interest rate. Anyone having problems with this should notify the State Office.

LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE: Chairman Martone said that there are two new members on his committee, Mr. Sharp for Atlantic County and Mr. Huebsch for Hudson County. The governor has signed three bills that were on our legislative list. First Assistant Secretary Martone, along with President Ordway, Vice President Hankins, and Second Assistant Secretary Dreby have been meeting with several Assembly and Senate members regarding the Cancer Screening bill for volunteer firefighters. The bill will mirror the bills that were passed and signed into law for career firefighters. President Ordway added that all the legislators that they spoke with are completely positive regarding this legislation.

LONG RANGE PLANNING COMMITTEE:Chairman Speigel stated there is a report in the packets and the items will be brought up under New Business.

PENSION COMMITTEE:Treasurer Mullen stated that the committee met prior to the meeting.

RESOLUTION COMMITTEE:No report.

SALARY COMMITTEE:No report.

FIRE SAFETY COMMISSION: Chairman Naylis reported that the commission will hold their January, March, and May meetings at the State Office. The division is working on cannabis guidance and reappointing the Peer Review committee. Free smoke detectors are again available from the division. The division is trying to recruit new inspectors.

APPLICATIONS:

1)On a motion by Executive Committeeman Lenarski, seconded by Executive Committeeman Florio to remove the Hopewell Relief Association from under review.Passed 20-0

2)President Ordway inquired from Executive Committeeman Naylis if Washington Township (Bergen County) is ready to be removed from “Under Review” status. Executive Committeeman Naylis said that they are making progress and he wants to wait to the end of the year. Executive Committeeman Mazzarella also mentioned that Helmetta is making progress and he also wants to wait until the end of the year.

OLD BUSINESS:

1) President Ordway discussed a report that is in the packets regarding changing the amount for subsidy. The report has figures that he would like to review, and a decision will be made at the February Executive Committee meeting.

NEW BUSINESS:

1) A motion was made by Executive Committeeman Naylis, seconded by Executive Committeeman Handlin, to have the Secretary cast one ballot for the election of Executive Committeeman John Lane as Chairman of the Executive Committee. Passed 20-0.

2) A motion was made by Executive Committeeman Handlin, seconded by Executive Committeeman Otterbein, to have the Secretary cast one ballot for the election of Committeeman Robert Kelly as Secretary of the Executive Committee.Passed 20-0.

3) A motion was made by Executive Committeeman Mellert, seconded by Executive Committeeman Walker to accept Resolutions 1 and 2, which call for associations to elect delegates and alternates to the convention and Exempt Associations to elect a delegate and alternate to the 2023 convention.Passed 20-0.

4) A motion was made by Executive Committeeman Kelly, seconded by Executive Committeeman Otterbein, to engage the services of PKF O’Connor Davies as our outside auditors for the year 2022-2023. On a roll call vote, Passed 20-0.

5) President Ordway stated that there is an Executive Committee meeting schedule for 2023 in your packet. He said he has two dates listed for July (July 15 and 22). The Firemen’s Home Board of Managers meeting was changed to July 15 (the day of our meeting) due to the 4th of July holiday. He asked if we should change the date for our meeting so that the two meetings don’t conflict. On a motion made by Executive Committeeman Otterbein, seconded by Executive Committeeman Roemmich, to move our meeting date to July 22. Passed 20-0.

6) President Ordway stated there was a recommendation to have the relief amount a local can pay put on the Secretary and Treasurer tabs on the website. President Ordway will work on it with our programmers to accomplish this,

7) President Ordway informed everyone that the Long Range Planning Committee requested that we put the relief applications on the “Forms” tab on the website. This has been done. We need to monitor it here in the office to see if there is any confusion with their use. We will also be putting the pink and blue forms online also, with the hope that we can make that form fillable.

8) The Long Range Planning Committee also discussed the issue of local associations’ documents being kept in the state of NJ. Some officers live out of state and when the documents are needed, it takes a while to get them. For example, during the field exams, an association could not have the examination completed because the secretary or treasurer had the records and lived out of state. Executive Committeeman Kelly suggested the records be kept in a secure cabinet in a firehouse. As an example, an officer had a major fire in his home and some of the records were destroyed. Field Examiner Hollingsworth responded that this may be an issue in some of the larger associations where there are quite a few firehouses, and it will be difficult to have them readily available. President Ordway responded that there have been damages to firehouses also, so we should leave it as proposed. Executive Committeeman Naylis then suggested that we investigate a way to preserve documents in the Cloud. This should solve most of the issues. President Ordway then asked Assistant Counsel Morris to review the best way that this can be accomplished and have a report for our next meeting. A motion was then made by Executive Committeeman Naylis that at this time we establish the protocol that all records must be kept in the state of NJ, seconded by Executive Committeeman Kelly. Executive Committeeman Lenarski then inquired what about an officer who lives, for instance, five miles across the border. President Ordway responded that we need to make one policy because then officers who live 10 or 20 miles away would want an exception. Executive Committeeman Fazekas asked when this will start, as some officers have already left for Florida etc. Executive Committeeman Naylis then amended his motion that this protocol be effective January 1, 2023. Executive Committeeman Kelly agreed to the amendment. On a roll call vote, Passed 20-0.

9) Compendium Committee Chairman Walker reported that the committee reviewed the question as to whether members should receive credit for duty nights. The Executive Committee asked that it continue to be reviewed.

10) Compendium Committee Chairman Walker then reported that the committee reviewed a request to expand the reasons that a member can be removed from an association. Executive Committeeman Kelly made a motion to adopt the motion, seconded by Executive Committeeman Jubert. Executive Committeeman Naylis then questioned the wording of “Moral Turpitude” in the amendment as far as the interpretation. A motion was made to table this until Counsel Cavallo reports back regarding the definition of “Moral Turpitude”. A motion was made Executive Committeeman Naylis to table this until we receive counsel’s definition, seconded by Executive Committeeman Florio. On a roll call vote, Tabled 14 - 6. At this time Counsel Cavallo will review the committee’s recommendation and report to us at the next meeting.

11) Compendium Committee Chairman Walker next reported that he had polled his committee to see if health care should have the same or like payment scale as the burial benefit regarding time in the association. It is suggested that we mirror the burial benefit scale. President Ordway explained that a new member with less than a month of service at this time gets the full benefit. The feeling of the committee is that the member should have some qualifying time to be eligible for this benefit. President Ordway mentioned that a sliding scale was also discussed as it related to relief, but the Health Care program is managed by our office, whereas local relief is managed by the local association. Executive Committeeman Speigel noted that the scale will climb 12.5% each year. A motion was made by Executive Committeeman Speigel, seconded by Executive Committeeman Phillips to adopt a scale for the Health Care program. A question was asked as to when it will become effective. It was decided that it will be effective March 1, 2023, when the Active Membership reports are received. On a roll call vote, Passed 19-1.

12) The Compendium Committee had President Ordway explain the discussion and recommendation regarding members who receive 0% for five continuous years being removed from the rolls. President Ordway stated that he had a preliminary search done to see how many members fell into this category. He found that 1,333 members have had five consecutive years with 0% which is one half of one percent of our members. Executive Committeeman Speigel made a motion to adopt this as presented, seconded by Executive Committeeman Lane. This would not take place until 2024. There was discussion on the motion; Executive Committeeman Naylis asked for clarification. Did this only include those with 0% and not those who did not make their 25%? President Ordway said yes, only those who have 0%. Executive Committeeman Scheuer inquired as to whether a member having 83 months followed by five years of 0% would be removed? President Ordway responded yes, they will. A statement was then made that this does not affect members on military leave. (Associations are reminded that when a member goes on military leave, the association must notify the State Office when that person goes on military leave and when they return.) Executive Committeeman Otterbein asked if it was the last five years? President Ordway reiterated the last five consecutive years. He also stated that if a member has four consecutive years and gets 1% in the fifth year, the clock starts over again. President Ordway stated that after the Membership Reports are received on February 28, an association will be notified if they have members who have four consecutive years at 0% and the local should notify those members that if they have 0% for 2023, they will be dropped from the rolls. On a roll call vote: Passed 20-0

13) Compendium Committee Chairman Walker referred to a question that was submitted, inquiring if a member receives an injury in the line of duty and cannot return to duty, will the member be qualified, as under the current policy, as a Line of Duty death? The committee recommends that they should be considered qualified. A motion was made by Executive Committeeman Handlin, seconded by Executive Committeeman Speigel, to accept the recommendation of the Compendium Committee. On a roll call vote, Passed 20-0

14) Compendium Committee Chairman Walker reported that a question was submitted to the committee: does a per-diem firefighter receive the same 100% towards qualification as a career firefighter? After some discussion it was agreed that we need to do more research into this question, especially regarding any law that may prohibit this.

15) Long Range Planning Chairman Speigel reported that the committee discussed putting relief applications on our website under “forms”. He also mentioned that they are recommending that forms 101 (Local Relief), 102 (Supplementary Relief) and 113 (Special Relief) be identical so that it will be easier once they are downloaded online. All you need to do is mark the check box on the top, signifying what type of relief you are using the form for. He also mentioned that we are looking into putting the pink and blue convention forms online also. President Ordway mentioned that we are also looking to make some or all of these forms “form fillable”. These forms are now online. We will also be investigating if the Applications for Membership could be put online in the future.

16) Executive Committeeman Otterbein asked how we are going to monitor if an association’s books are kept in the state. President Ordway responded that we will not be going to the association to check on this. When we are alerted that an association’s books are not available, we will investigate, and if is realized that they are not kept in NJ, the association will be put out of accord.

17) Vice President Hankins mentioned that everyone received a challenge coin that he had made. Our logo is on it. He encouraged any executive that wants to have a challenge coin made do so. See the Vice President for details. Since our logo is on the coin, the Executive Committee must approve the use of it. A motion was made by Executive Committeeman Speigel, seconded by Executive Committeeman Walker to allow the Officers and Executive Committee only to use the logo on challenge coins. Also, it was mentioned that the challenge coins are at the expense of the officer and executive. Passed, 19-1.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

President Ordway opened the meeting to public comment and asked First Assistant Secretary Martone to read the following: The New Jersey State Firemen’s Association welcomes comments from the members of the audience. He further stated that the secretary will note all comments and because of this, he asked anyone speaking to state their name and address before speaking and to keep their comments to a three-minute time limit. Concerns stated or actions requested by the public will be taken under advisement by the Executive Committee for investigation, discussion and possible action or disposition later.

1) Michael Cleary, Treasurer of the Jersey City Firemen’s Relief Association asked if the $10,000.00 cap on administrative expenses for officers, representatives, and trustees, which has been in effect since 2014, be reviewed. President Ordway said it will be forwarded to the Compendium Committee.

There were no further public comments.

GOOD OF THE ORDER

1) President Ordway thanked all committees and the Executive Committee for their participation today. We got a lot accomplished. He then wished everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays. There will be a holiday luncheon on December 15 at the office for the members of the Executive Committee. He congratulated Executive Committeeman Figueroa on his retirement from active service in his fire department. He mentioned that if anyone needs information on OPRA requests, they should contact the office.

2) Secretary Pelaia thanked everyone for their cards and telephone calls regarding his current health issues.

3) Executive Committeeman Mazzarella thanked everyone for their cards and condolences on the loss of his brother.

4) Executive Committeemen Speigel and Lenarski clarified with Field Examiner Hollingsworth the information on the list in their packets regarding bank statements.

5) Executive Committeeman Lane thanked the executives for their confidence in him and Executive Committeemen Kelly for their support in electing them Chairman and Secretary of the Executive Committee.

6) Executive Committeeman Naylis thanked everyone for their cards, well wishes and prayers since his recent surgery.

ADJOURNMENT:On a motion by Executive Committeeman Speigel, seconded by Executive Committeeman Florio to adjourn the meeting,Passed 20-0. The meeting was adjourned at 11:58am.

Respectfully submitted,

Thomas J. Pelaia

 
 
 

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