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Wall Township, New Jersey
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Abridged Report Executive Committee Meeting

Abridged Report with Attachments

ABRIDGED REPORT EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING

NEW JERSEY STATE FIREMEN’S ASSOCIATION

WALL TOWNSHIP, NEW JERSEY

FEBRUARY 25, 2023

The meeting was called to order by President Ordway at 9:00am, 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). The fire exits were pointed out.

Vice President Hankins led everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance.

President Ordway asked for a moment of silence.

Executive Committeeman Mellert gave the invocation.

President Ordway asked Counsel Cavallo to administer the oath of office to Executive Committeewoman Badger.

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was held with all Officers and Executive Committee members present.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

The Abridged Minutes and Verbatim Minutes of the November 19, 2022, Executive Committee Meeting were approved as distributed on a motion by Executive Committeeman Handlin, seconded by Executive Committeeman Fazekas. Motion carried.

COMMUNICATIONS:

Secretary Pelaia said there were no current communications other than those in your packet. A motion was made to accept the correspondence submitted, by Executive Committeeman Roemmich, seconded by Executive Committeeman Lane. Motion carried.

LIFE MEMBERS: None

OFFICERS REPORT:

Vice President Hankins reported the following:

1) He thanked all the executives for submitting the Caucus dates and locations. They are now posted on our website.

2) He thanked all the Executives that signed up for the Field Exams. More executives are needed, and he asked those who haven’t signed up and are available to let him know.

Secretary Pelaia Reported the following:

1) He reminded everyone that the Active Membership Reports are due in the office or postmarked by February 28, which is this coming Tuesday. He also stated that of the Active Membership Reports already submitted, 10%, had to be returned due to mistakes, mostly because the secretaries did not read the instructions.

2) Election petitions for Officers, Executive Committee, and those Firemen’s Home Managers whose terms are expiring are due in the State Office by June 1, 2023.

3) The Compendium is currently being updated and will be put online in several weeks.

4) We will be voting under Applications to remove Companies 1, 2 and 3 of the Union FRA# 365, since they are no longer active.

5) Executive Committeeman Handlin inquired about when the Secretary Treasurer Manual will be back online. President Ordway responded that it will be online shortly after the Compendium is posted. He mentioned that there will be a separate Secretary’s Manual and a separate Treasurer’s Manual.

First Assistant Secretary Martone: No Report.

Second Assistant Secretary Dreby’s Report: He sent out a letter to treasurers regarding what he is looking for when he reviews the bank statements.

Treasurer Mullen’s Report: The audits of the Regular Account and Retirement Accounts for the second quarter have been received and distributed to the Executive Committee. The Auditors have now started the third quarter audits for the current fiscal year. He also stated that he is working with the IRS on the penalties issued to associations who filed their IRS FORM 990 manually rather than on-line in the 2021 filing. PLEASE REMEMBER: the 2022 filings for the 990N, 990EZ and 990 must be submitted online. Everyone was reminded that a copy of your 990’s or a copy of your extensions must be submitted to the IRS by May 15, 2023 and to us by June 14, 2023. He also mentioned that he is in the process of getting Direct Deposit for the current officers, staff, executives, and pensions.

Field Examiner Hollingsworth’s Report: The written report is in the packets. She thanked all the executives who signed up to assist with the Field Exams. There have been several inquiries as to why some exams were done last year and are being scheduled again this year. She explained that due to the pandemic, we are trying to catch up and get back on schedule. After this year we will be caught up and back to the three-year cycle.

Counsel Cavallo’s Report: No report for the open meeting but he will report on current litigation in Executive Session.

Assistant Counsel Morris’s Report: Counsel Morris informed everyone he submitted updated Records Retention requirements. They are in your packets and will be attached to these minutes.

President Ordway’s Report: He had no written report but reported the following:

1) The office will be closed on April 7th for Good Friday.

2) We need to set up workshops for the local association officers.

3) The Convention Delegates submission must be completed online with a due date of May 1, 2023.

4) First Quarter Relief Report is due by April 30. It must be done online.

5) The 2023 Convention will be a two day Convention in September unless something major occurs. Convention registration will be held both days between 7:00am and 11:00am. The Memorial Service and Convention Business will be on Friday, beginning at 11:00am. Saturday, there will be voting from 7am to 11am. We are also looking to do a Secretary/Treasurer workshop for those wishing to attend on Saturday morning. We will know more by the next Executive Committee Meeting.

6) The 16 year and 2-year financial analyses are included in the packets.

7) We will be updating the online screens for the submittal of online reports before next year.

8) President Ordway acknowledged the staff in our office (Beth, Brittany, Denise, and Jennifer) for their diligence in checking and correcting the reports submitted and contacting the local officers when they needed to.

COMMITTEE REPORTS:

ADVISORY/ SPECIAL / SUPPLEMENTAL COMMITTEE: Executive Committeeman Mellert stated that there is a report in the packet.

DELEGATE AND LIFE MEMBER COMMITTEE: Executive Committeeman Roemmich said he had no report for this meeting. There will be a report at the next meeting.

FINANCE COMMITTEE: Treasurer Mullen reported that the Finance Committee Report is in your packet. The Finance Committee found everything in order.

HEALTH CARE ASSISTANCE COMMITTEE: The report has been submitted.

Investment Committee: There is a report in your packet. Chairman Handlin reported that the movement of funds between accounts has been put on hold at this time, for further review of interest rates. President Ordway then mentioned to everyone that Valley Bank, the bank which is the State Association’s bank has a current interest rate on checking accounts of 4.5%. Treasurers looking for a new bank should investigate Valley Bank.

LEGISLATIVE: First Assistant Secretary Martone reported that he, President Ordway, and President Hankins attended the Senate Committee hearing on February 9 to support the Volunteer Cancer Bill. The bill was released from Committee, and they are looking forward to speaking with the bill’s sponsors. A Legislative Committee Meeting will be scheduled after that.

LONG RANGE PLANNING COMMITTEE: No report.

PENSION COMMITTEE: Treasurer Mullen reported that the committee met this morning. There are two pending items. They have a retirement coming up at the end of September and are considering the various options to offer. The committee also approved President’s Ordway recommendation to budget an additional $900,000.00 to get closer to the unfunded investment benefits of the Pension System.

RESOLUTION COMMITTEE: We have received one resolution so far. The deadline for submitting resolutions is May 1.

SALARY COMMITTEE: No report. The committee will be meeting before the next meeting with a recommendation for the next fiscal year.

FIRE SAFETY COMMISSION – Chairman Naylis reported on the highlights of the January Fire Commission Meeting (minutes attached). They are currently looking to update the Fire Safety Act, which is 40 years old. He also raised a question to the Commission relative to the evaluation of sprinkler systems, which was referred to the Codes Council.

APPLICATIONS:

1) Executive Committeeman Mazzarella requested that Helmetta be taken off Review, provided that their Membership Report is received by February 28. He then made the motion, seconded by Executive Committeeman Mellert. PASSED.

2) Secretary Pelaia stated that we received a request to remove Companies 1, 2 and 3 from the Union FRA #365, since they are no longer active fire companies. A motion was made by Executive Committeeman Florio, seconded by Executive Committeeman Kelly. PASSED.

3) Executive Committeeman Naylis made a motion that Washington Twsp. FRA# 455 be removed from review, as they are back on track. This was seconded by Executive Committeeman Otterbein. PASSED.

4) Audubon Park: Secretary Pelaia forwarded them an application for a new association but has not heard back from them. Executive Committeeman Figueroa is following up with them.

5) Hillsborough: Secretary Pelaia has sent them an application for a new company; Executive Committeeman Kurdyla is following up with them.

FIREMEN’S HOME COMMITTEE: There are two reports, and they are in the packets.

Chairman Otterbein also reported on the joint meeting with our home committee and

their committee, which went very well. Another meeting has been set for next month.

COMPENDIUM COMMITTEE: A report is in the packet.

1) Chairman Walker reported that Counsel Cavallo has submitted the definition of “Moral Turpitude” for the new section under “Discipline and Suspension” in the Compendium. Executive Committeewoman Badger inquired whether a member who commits a crime and no longer belongs to a fire department can be removed them from the association rolls. The answer is that if the member is not qualified, then the association can remove the member. If the member is qualified, then there needs to be a hearing in front of the Advisory Committee. Counsel Cavallo then reiterated that any action with this new section can only be taken if the crime is committed after the approval of the addition of the new section by the Executive Committee.

2) There was a discussion regarding members who are injured in the line of duty and cannot return to the fire department and are not qualified. It was determined that the following be added to the Compendium: “Article VII, Section 4 : If the surviving spouse, civil union partner, or domestic partner was living separately, and maintaining a separate residence from his or her spouse, civil union partner or domestic partner, at the time of death, then their eligibility for Relief and/or Health Care shall be determined by the Advisory Committee.”

3) The committee was asked to investigate if a scale similar to the scale for the Burial Benefit can be put into place with Relief Applications. They felt this would be too cumbersome to manage. The Committee recommended that if an association has over one million dollars in assets, that association will be responsible for paying the Special

Relief to the applicant from its treasury once the Advisory Committee approves the application and payment.

4) The Committee discussed a change in Subsidy Payments. Currently, associations on subsidy receive $10,00.00 if their assets are below $50,000.00. The committee recommends that subsidy be increased to $17,500.00 if their assets are below $50,000.00.

5) Assistant Counsel Morris prepared a new Document Retention report which will be part of the Compendium Appendix.

  1. B) The committee reviewed the percentages for per diem firefighters. It was decided that this is a local issue, and we will accept what the locals report.

6) Chairman Walker announced that the updated Compendium is going to be put online so that it can be updated more frequently.

OLD BUSINESS:

1) President Ordway reminded everyone that the motion that passed last meeting, regarding removing members from the rolls who have five continuous years of 0% towards qualification, does not go into effect until 2024.

2) At the last meeting, the motion regarding Moral Turpitude was tabled. A motion was made by Executive Committeeman Kelly, seconded by Executive Committeeman Handlin, to remove the motion from the table. Passed 21-0. Secretary Pelaia then read the motion. The motion stated that the Compendium Committee brought forward that we are looking at discipline for members who are convicted for acts of Moral Turpitude. President Ordway then asked for discussion on the motion. Executive Committeeman Naylis stated that he feels that too much is left up to interpretation by various parties. He asked for a no vote on the motion. Executive Committeeman Kelly then asked if procedures are in place to remove the member. President Ordway said that the local association must first bring the charges and then the Advisory Committee will hold a hearing and forward to the Executive Committee their decision for final approval. On a Roll Call Vote Passed 20-1.

4) Executive Committeeman Handlin inquired about the resolution regarding the Firemen’s Home that was approved at the 2021 Convention. President Ordway stated that Senator Bucco has the bill drafted and that we will be meeting with him shortly. It was said that Senator Bucco is happy that our association and the Firemen’s Home are working together and sharing each other’s differences. Executive Committeeman Kelly asked if that is a genuine sense between both committees and Chairman Otterbein said yes.

5) Executive Committeeman Speigel inquired about the Cancer Screening pilot program. President Ordway responded that it is part of the legislative bill that we are working on.

EXECUTIVE SESSION: At 10:32am, a motion was made by Executive Committeeman Naylis, seconded by Executive Committeeman Florio, that we move to Executive Session. PASSED 21-0.

At 10:52am, a motion was made by Executive Committeeman Naylis, seconded by Executive Committeeman Florio, to return to the open meeting. PASSED 21-0.

NEW BUSINESS:

1) The Compendium Committee made a recommendation that the associations with a one million dollar balance as of December 31, 2022, pay out any Special Relief that is approved by the Advisory Committee from their own treasury. For associations under a one million dollar balance on December 31, 2022, Special Relief will continue to be paid by the state office. A motion was made by Executive Committeeman Kurdyla, seconded by Executive Committeeman Phillips, that we agree with the Compendium Committee’s recommendation. On a Roll Call Vote Passed 16-6.

2) A motion was made by Executive Committeeman Kelly, seconded by Executive Committeeman Mazzarella, that we approve the Compendium Committee’s recommendation that we increase the subsidy payments from $10,000.00 to $17,500.00. On a Roll Call Vote Passed 21-0.

3) A motion was made by Executive Committeeman Scheuer, seconded by Executive Committeeman Handlin, not to seat Sea Isle City FRA # 329 at the 2023 Convention for failure to submit the Financial Standing Report by the deadline of February 20, 2023.

On a Roll Call Vote Passed 21-0.

4) A motion was made by Executive Committeeman Walker, seconded by Executive Committeeman Lane, to have the State Officers act on the Executive Committee’s behalf, to unseat any association submitting any future reports that are received past the deadline date. On a Roll Call vote Passed 21-0.

5) A motion was made by Executive Committeeman Kelly, seconded by Executive Committeeman Otterbein, to concur with the Compendium Committee’s recommendation that Article VII section 7 be changed to add spouse, civil union partner, domestic partner was living separately maintaining separate residence. On a Roll Call vote Passed 21-0.

6) Executive Committeeman Kurdyla inquired if we can use electronic signatures in getting reports prepared. President Ordway responded that it will be looked into.

7) There was discussion as to whether the Caucus allowance for the Executive Committee should be increased. A new schedule was distributed by Executive Committeeman Roemmich. President Ordway asked that this item be deferred until the next Executive Committee Meeting so that the Executive Committee can review it. Executive Committeeman Naylis inquired if the money for an increase is in the budget. President Ordway explained that the allowance is calculated every year after the Membership Reports are received.

8) Executive Committeewoman Badger asked for a report so the Executive Committee could search in their county for deceased members. President Ordway responded yes, that is a simple programming change.

PUBLIC COMMENT: Ms. Noor, a representative from Medical Essential Diagnostic, a program similar to Deborah and Captain Buscio, addressed the Executive Committee. She explained their program and some of the highlights. They have a mobile unit that can come out to do the screenings in addition to four stationary offices. They also accept whatever your health insurance pays.

There were no other speakers.

GOOD OF THE ORDER:

1) President Ordway said we accomplished a lot today and thanked the Executive Committee for all their hard work.

2) Executive Committeeman Speigel thanked everyone for their condolences on the death of his father. He also mentioned that he was very appreciative of the Health Care Reimbursement Program.

3) Executive Committeeman Otterbein said that the family of Frank Norton, a member of the West Caldwell FRA, who currently passed away, also thanked us for the Health Care Reimbursement Program. He was in a nursing home for 14 months and the program aided them tremendously.

4) President Ordway again reminded everyone that the petitions for Officers, Executive Committee and for Board of Managers to the Firemen’s Home are available here at the meeting and online. The deadline for filing for a position to have your name printed on the ballot is due June 1, 2023.

5) Field Examiner Hollingsworth reminded the Executive Committee that she needs more help at the Field Exams and those who are available should see her.

6) Vice President Hankins mentioned that at 1:00pm, the New Jersey Fire Museum will be honoring Black Fire Chiefs for Black History Month.

ADJOURNMENT: With no other business to be discussed, the meeting was adjourned at 11:19 on a motion by Executive Committeeman Handlin, seconded by Executive Committeeman Florio.

Respectfully submitted,

Thomas J. Pelaia

Secretary

 
 
 

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