Sunday, July 23rd, 2017
   

Abridged Report Executive Committee Meeting

ABRIDGED REPORT EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING

NEW JERSEY STATE FIREMEN’S ASSOCIATION

Wildwood, N.J. Saturday, May 14, 2016

The meeting was called to order by President George H. Heflich, Sr. at 9:30 A.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 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 for those who have answered their last alarm followed by a prayer for guidance during our meeting.

OATH OF OFFICE FOR EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE:

Counsel Frank Cavallo administered the Oath of Office to Executive Committeewoman Cindy Badger (Atlantic).

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was held. First Assistant Secretary Jake Genovay announced that all members were present with the exception of Executive Committeeman Joseph Stauffer, Hudson County, and Assistant Counsel Stacy Moore who were excused. Also in attendance were Past Executive Committeemen Thomas Miller, Union County, and Kenneth Wigglesworth, Gloucester County. We also have in attendance Stanley Markoski, representing the Beach Haven Relief Association, Ron Harwood, Treasurer of the Wildwood Local Relief along with member James Neill and Robert Toole, Secretary of Princeton Relief.

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 possible action or disposition at a later time and date.

Robert K. Toole, Princeton Relief Secretary, stated why he forgot to file the Delegates list on time and explained the circumstances behind it. He accepted full responsibility for the mishap and said he would do anything to correct it.

President Heflich told him that it was not his responsibility alone to insure that the paperwork is filed on time but all of the officers of the association. He told him it would be

brought up under New Business and a decision would be made by the Executive Committee and that a letter would be sent notifying you of the results.

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

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

The Abridged minutes and the Verbatim Minutes of the February 20, 2016 Executive Board Meeting were approved as read on a motion by Mr. Mc Nulty, seconded by Mr. Figueroa. Motion carried.

COMMUNICATIONS:

To: Memorial Committee

From: Hopewell Fire Dept. – Mercer County

From: Bay Head Firemen’s Relief Association

From: White Horse Volunteer Fire Company

From: White Horse Volunteer Fire Company

From: Fair Lawn Relief Association

To: Honorable Chris Christie

To: Edward Donnell, F.M.B.A.

From: Special Relief Committee

Secretary Finnegan read the correspondence. A motion was made by Mr. Lane that the communications be filed. Second by Mr. Walker. Motion carried.

LIFE MEMBER REPORT:

None

OFFICER REPORTS:

President Heflich reported: Written report distributed.

He stated that there are thirteen (13) Associations not being seated at the Convention.

He said that he, Vice-President Gunson, 2nd Assistant Secretary Naylis and Field Examiner Kenny made a trip to the Atlantic City Relief Association to explain to them how relief is paid. Atlantic City Relief members were very thankful for the presentation. President Heflich told them that the Relief Fund is not a Christmas club but if someone needs relief and has the necessary supporting documentation with their relief application, then relief should be granted.

He said that seventeen (17) Executive Committee members responded to his email regarding increasing the age for membership in the association. Twelve (12) did not want to raise the age while three (3) questioned if the age were increased, what affect would it have on the actuarial study and two (2) wanted to increase the age.

President Heflich Remarks (Continued):

He stated that the Secretary has the numbers on responses regarding the Affidavits and Long Term Care. He said that the Visiting Angels came in and gave a presentation on their type of service.

He said that the New Brunswick Local Relief Association made their presentation at the February Executive Committee meeting and appealed to the Advisory Board and were denied. He said that their Deputy Chief made a statement to lower the death benefit paid to current members to $8,000 to allow members who are not in the Association to receive a death benefit. President Heflich told him this would have no bearing on giving back time to any member. They have now submitted a Resolution to the Convention.

He has not heard whether the Governor will attend the convention or not. If he doesn’t hear back, he will contact the Lieutenant Governor.

He thanked the Secretary, Vice-President and 1st Assistant Secretary for their work on the “We’d Like You to Know” pamphlet.

Robert Ordway, Bergen County, questioned why he was singled out in the President’s written report. President Heflich stated that it was in reference to a comment Bob made that the President was against the career firefighters. President Heflich said his comment was that he was asked by a younger firefighter why his percentage was based on 365 days a year to get his 50% while a career firefighter gets 100% and that their percentage is not based on those 365 days. President Heflich told the young man that it has been that way as long as he has been an Officer. He told him that the Executive Committee makes the rules and the Officers have to enforce them. A discussion followed.

Vice President Gunson reported: Written report distributed.

He stated that the new voting machines are in but have to be programmed. There will be a sample ballot at each caucus.

The Caucus Schedule has been distributed. Please get back to him regarding those that you will be able to work.

Assessment checks will be electronically deposited on Monday, May 16, 2016; over $16 million. We have thirty-seven (37) associations on subsidy and thirty (30) associations having over $1 million. Assistance for Associations on Subsidy totaled over $80,000 this year.

He met with Committeewoman Badger and they met with Estell Manor and helped them elect their officers.

Secretary’s report: Written report distributed. He stated that he was asked by a Local Relief Association secretary to add the applicant’s email address to the application to make it easier for the secretary to communicate with the applicant.

Secretary’s report (continued):

He commented on responses for Affidavits and Long Term Care: Affidavits – 357 or 66% of the associations and Long Term Care – 230 or 43%.

He concluded by stating that currently we have the following number of applicants for State Office: President – one, Vice-President – 2, Secretary – 1, Treasurer – 1 and First Assistant Secretary – 1.

Treasurer Osborn reported: Financial reports have been distributed. Nothing verbal to report.

Field Examiner Kenny reported: Written report distributed. Included in your handout is the new Relief Assistance Scale based on the 2015 Financial Reports.

He stated that we have conducted two Field Exams already: Passaic and Cape May. There is one scheduled for Bergen on May 19th and he still needs four (4) reviewers.

He is happy to report that there was 100% reporting on the First Quarter Relief.

Counsel Cavallo reported:

He reported that the New Jersey Supreme Court will hear our case on appeal regarding the lawsuit with Carter. He will pass on information as received.

Our complaint against the former buyer of the East Orange site was settled for $35,000. This is in addition to the $50,000 that we received from the Escrow Account. This concludes this matter.

He stated there was a Resolution proposed by Franklin Township Relief Association regarding the one hundred feet from the front door of Convention Hall for electioneering for candidates. This was brought up by the officers at their meeting on Thursday with the Convention staff and will be adhered to.

COMMITTEE REPORTS:

ADVISORY COMMITTEE – report distributed no verbal.

SPECIAL RELIEF – report distributed. The committee has proposed new levels and it will be brought up under New Business.

LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE – report distributed.

PENSION COMMITTEE – nothing to report.

FINANCE COMMITTEE – report distributed.

SALARY COMMITTEE – Chairman Dreby said it will be discussed in Executive Session.

RESOLUTION COMMITTEE – Chairman Cavallo stated that two Resolutions have been received, one regarding the increase in the number of Representatives and another allowing an individual who has over twenty years in their Fire Department but not in the Association to receive back time.

A comment was made that increasing the number of Representatives will not help the Local Associations as you still need ½ + 1 of Representatives to conduct business. It was suggested that the Local Officers be made Representatives as they have to be in attendance anyway.

COMPENDIUM COMMITTEE – Chairman Mc Nulty stated that a meeting was held on April 6th and the proposed changes have been distributed regarding Military Leave, Embezzlement and Arson.

CONSOLIDATION COMMITTEE – Vice President Gunson stated there was nothing to report.

DELEGATE AND LIFE MEMBER COMMITTEE – Chairman Ordway stated there was nothing to report as it was approved at the last meeting.

BUILDING COMMITTEE - Chairman Dreby said a meeting was conducted in the State Office on March 29, 2016 and other dates were scheduled for visits to possible site locations. Vice President Gunson discussed what was in the packet. The site that we are looking at is on Route 34 by the airport. He felt we should move forward on this site. We have received a bid for services from an architect and that it has been sent to counsel for review. Our current lease is up on November 1, 2018, John Lane, Passaic, stated that there are entrances on two sides so we do not need State DOT approval. VP Gunson asked that the Officers be authorized to pursue the site by making an offer to consummate the purchase and to do an RFP for the architect services. This will be brought up under New Business.

LONG-TERM RELIEF COMMITTEE – Chairman Hankins said a meeting is scheduled in two weeks. He asked the Execs to get information in their local area of businesses that do the type of work we are looking for, similar to Visiting Angels. We must make a decision on the criteria that we will be looking for. A brief discussion occurred on the criteria needed. It is intended to help the member to stay in their home as long as possible before going into a nursing home and to reimburse the member for the care he received. It is for personal care, not medical care.

APPLICATIONS: Montgomery Township, Company # 2, Somerset County. A motion was made by Neil Gallo, Somerset County to accept their application, second by Robert Kelly, Monmouth. Motion carried.

OLD BUSINESS: Robert Ordway, Bergen County, said he has updated his report on the distribution of Relief, Convention and Administrative Expenses for the years 2008 thru 2015.

He stated that 2015 was the lowest amount of Relief paid in that time span. He said that we have 37 associations on subsidy, the lowest amount in that time frame too.

Robert Kelly, Monmouth County, inquired about the progress with a meeting with the Department of Insurance. President Heflich stated we haven’t gotten anywhere as the Commissioner has either been busy, on vacation or whatever. If there is no progress, President Heflich said he would call the Lieutenant Governor. He said by statute they have to let us see their proposed budget. Counsel Cavallo said that when there are Capital Improvements included in the Home’s Budget and there is no agreement between the Home and the Executive Committee, that is when Banking and Insurance gets involved. Otherwise, we can only comment on their budget and do not have any authority to take out anything or disagree with it.

John Lane, Passaic County, asked about the difference between a Capital Expenditure and Capital Improvement Project as described in the Home’s Budget. Counsel Cavallo stated that the Home’s statute defines Capital Improvements in a much narrower manner compared to the Building Code. Any changes between DCA statutes and the Homes Statute would have to be done through the Legislature.

President Heflich made an OPRA request of the Home and found that they spend between $70,000 to $75,000 on food a month that equates to about $1,000 per guest per month. The Managers say that Glenn Wilson has a conflict of interest as he is a Manager for the Home and on the Finance Committee for the State Association. Glenn matches up the State Associations bank statements with check numbers and amounts paid. President Heflich stated that the real conflict is about the Managers who are also Officers in their Local Relief Association and receive an Administrative Expense and dispense our funds.

President Heflich said a few years ago when the Home was looking for a facility in Central Jersey that the Masonic Home in Burlington County, which has a Licensed Superintendent, offered a perfect situation but it was turned down as the Home wanted their Superintendent, who is not Licensed, to oversee the control of their guests and the Masonic Home declined to do that. President Heflich concluded by stating that some of the Managers are only up there for a paycheck.

A motion was made by John Lane, Passaic County, at 10:25 A.M. to go into Executive Session to discuss personnel matters, seconded by Joseph Hankins, Ocean County. Motion passed.

A motion was made by Joseph Hankins, Ocean County, to return to the Regular Meeting from the Executive Session at 10:40 A.M., seconded by Frank Walker, Salem County. Motion passed.

Counsel Cavallo stated that during Executive Session the topic of Litigation came up and we have to go back into Executive Session. A motion was made by Richard Dreby, Burlington County, to go back into Executive Session and was seconded by Joseph Hankins, Ocean County. Motion approved. Back into Executive Session at 10:53 A.M.

NEW BUSINESS

A motion was made by Robert Ordway, Bergen County, to return to the Regular Meeting from the Executive Session at 10:55 A.M. Many seconds. Motion carried.

A motion was made by Robert Ordway, Bergen County, to reappoint Field Examiner James Kenny. There were many seconds. Motion carried.

A motion was made by Richard Dreby, Burlington County, to reappoint Counsel Frank Cavallo and Stacy Moore as Assistant Counsel, second by Neil Gallo, Somerset County. The motion carried on a vote of 17 in favor, three against. Counsel Cavallo thanked the Committee for the reappointment and to have the opportunity to right a couple of wrongs that occurred at last year’s convention.

A motion was made by Konrad Mellert, Warren County, to approve the Relief Assistance Scale as presented, second by Robert Ordway, Bergen County. The motion was approved unanimously.

Treasurer Barry Osborn spoke on the Budget that was presented which included a $250 increase in the Death Benefit for those members who are qualified. A question was asked by

Frank Walker, Salem County, regarding the Excess Income/Reserve line decreasing considerably from one year to the next. Treasurer Osborn stated that it was mainly due to the increase in the anticipated Death Benefits. A motion was made by Robert Ordway, Bergen County, to approve the Budget as presented, seconded by Konrad Mellert, Warren County. Motion carried unanimously.

A motion was made by John Phillips, Hunterdon County, to accept the increase of $250 to the death benefit raising it to $11,500 effective July 1, 2016 for a qualified member, seconded by Neil Gallo, Somerset County. Motion passed 20 in favor to 0 against.

Treasurer Osborn asked that the Resolution from the Association be approved to send to the State Treasurer the request for 999 money. A motion was made by Robert Kelly, Monmouth County and seconded by Norman Figueroa, Camden County, to approve the motion. Motion carried.

A motion was made Robert Kelly, Monmouth County, and seconded by Dan Scheuer, Sussex County, to deny seating for the filing of late Delegates to the Convention that was due on May 1, 2016. Jay Lenarski, Mercer County, spoke on the behalf of Princeton Relief Association and their Secretary Robert Toole in their defense. Motion carried.

A motion was made by Richard Dreby, Burlington County, to empower the Officers to make an offer for the property on Route 34, seconded by John Lane, Passaic County. Motion carried.

A motion was made by Richard Dreby, Burlington County, to empower the Officers to do a Request for Proposal (RFP) for architectural firms for the purpose of designing the new building, seconded by Robert Kelly, Monmouth County. Motion carried.

NEW BUSINESS (continued):

A motion was made by Konrad Mellert, Warren County, and seconded by James Reeves, Cumberland County to approve the Special Relief Increase as presented. Motion carried with 20 in favor to 0 against.

Salary Committee Chairman Dreby, Burlington County, stated that they met in Executive Session and the Executive Committee approved the recommendation of the Salary Committee which was a 2% increase across the board taking affect on 10/1/16 with one exception. That was for Secretary Finnegan’s salary to be increased $4,010 retroactively till May 1st with a 2% increase on 10/1/16. Chairman Dreby made that in the form of a motion, seconded by Robert Ordway, Bergen County. On a roll call vote the motion was approved with 20 in favor, 0 against. President Heflich stated that “Everyone Loves Kevin”!

A motion was made by John Lane, Passaic County, and seconded by Daniel Spiegel, Cape May County, to approve the Compendium and By-Law changes as presented. Motion carried.

A discussion, both pro and con, on the proposal to increase the age for membership in the Association was held. Proposals included raising the age to 58 which would allow the member to attain his 7 years when the member is 65, the age the State allows a career firefighter to work to. Other suggestions were made to increase the age to 50 or 55. A motion was made by Daniel Spiegel, Cape May, to keep the age as is, and it was seconded by Neil Gallo, Somerset County. The motion was approved with 13 in favor and 7 against.

Robert Ordway discussed the Fairlawn letter regarding the possibility of some graded system to attain the necessary percentage to become qualified. It will be turned over to the Compendium Committee to review and report back at the next meeting.

Jay Lenarski, Mercer County, asked that if the office hours for the Association could be posted on the website and if emails could be sent out reminding local associations of cutoff dates for reports that are due. Vice-President Gunson said the problem with the emails is may not go through due to SPAM filters and they would bounce back. There are problems contacting local associations due to incorrect telephone numbers on the Local Officer’s List.

Robert Kelly said it was discussed at a Monmouth County meeting to stop mailing the Red Book and that it should be put on line and to put it on a CD format for distribution. This would save on printing and mailing costs. President Heflich as well as Vice-President Gunson stated that it is up to the Executive Committee to change the distribution. They asked that they discuss it at their county meetings or caucuses and bring it back for discussion.

Daniel Spiegel, Cape May County, stated that Wildwood Local Relief Association overpaid their officers this year due to a miscalculation of receipts. He said that the limit should be publicized more and should be in the Compendium. Field Examiner James Kenny stated that is printed in bold letters on the instructions that are sent out with the Financial Reports. Mr. Spiegel asked that it be brought up at the Compendium meeting for discussion.

GOOD OF THE ORDER

President Heflich congratulated Daniel Spiegel, Cape May County, on his election as the City of Wildwood’s Fire Chief effective June 1, 2016.

President Heflich also stated that today’s meeting helped him make up his mind what his intentions will be by June 1, 2016.

Secretary Finnegan stated that he will be getting prices for shirts and will send out an email to see if anyone is interested in buying one.

Field Examiner James Kenny stated that the 990’s are due into the IRS by 5/15 and due into the State Office by 6/15. If any local association has received an extension to file, please forward a copy to him.

ADJOURNMENT

As there was no additional business to be conducted, a motion was made by William McNulty, Gloucester County to adjourn. There were many seconds. All in favor!

The meeting was adjourned at 11.44 A.M.

                                                                                Respectfully submitted,

                                                                                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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