AN OFFICER’S VIEW: Rutherford Police Officer Nick Loizzi Jr. wants state lawmakers to remind Gov. Christie of his pre-election pledge that pensions for police are a “public trust” that he wouldn’t violate. So the officer has written to all of his local representatives in Trenton.
“His election must have been a very traumatic moment for him, because he soon forgot that he made that pledge,” Loizzi told them. “I am asking you to remind him of the pledge he made to us and for your help keeping him to his word.”
Rutherford P.O. Nick Loizzi Jr.
Christie campaign letter promised ‘no harm’ to police, firefighter pensions
As a state delegate for PBA Local 300, Loizzi opposed Gov. Whitman’s use of what once was a flush police pension system to help balance the state budget.
“History has shown I couldn’t have been more correct,” he says. “This is the main reason the pensions are in distress. Had the LEGALLY REQUIRED contributions been made rather than the pension holidays that were granted this would not be a subject for debate.”
Loizzi said he understands that “something needs to be done to repair the damage caused by the State’s failure to meet its pension obligations. I am not opposed to raising pension contributions by employees, provided that the employers’ contributions are also increased.
“However, I question the logic of increasing police and fire members’ contributions 1.5% because the police and fire pension funds are the most solvent and valuable of the pension systems. Prior to the raid by the state, the pension system was at 103% value and growing. Today, it is valued at over 80% and it is increasing in value in the market.”
Like many officers, Loizzi is upset over reports that a deal has been brokered behind the scenes — a claim that State PBA President Anthony Wieners called “premature.”
“There are some concepts on pension reform that we can support, but health care belongs at the table,” Weiners said. “Collective bargaining needs to be the place where health care concerns and issues are resolved. Our members have marched on Trenton asking only for the opportunity to negotiate with their local communities to address the local needs.”
Loizzi agrees that contributions toward health care costs should “be up to the bargaining units to determine, not a legislative action,” something he said he believes New Jersey’s courts would support.
“Several years ago I was part of the negotiating team for my PBA. We successfully negotiated an increase in our health benefit,” he wrote in his letter to lawmakers. “We received an agreement from our employer to provide members and their spouses medical benefits past retirement until they became eligible for Medicare and then it becomes a supplement to Medicare.
“In return for this enhancement, we agreed to forego an annual increase in our salary. This agreement saved our employer several million dollars. This served as an example for other negotiations within our community and in surrounding communities.”
In the end, Loizzi believes the state Legislature should take the battle over runaway health care costs to the insurance companies — and not to public servants.
Loizzi certainly has standing. He was 16 when he joined the local first-aid squad. Eight years later, he was a Rutherford police officer.
He and his wife have lived in Sussex County since 2004 and, until recently, he was a registered Republican. ( ALSO SEE: From 9/11 heroes to greedy public servants? No! )
“I supported Chris Christie when he was a candidate for Governor. I met him at several of his campaign stops,” Loizzi said, “and I believed him when he wrote that the pensions were ‘a public trust‘ and that he would not ‘violate that trust.’
“Responsible negotiation can do much more to address costs than legislation.”
Officer Nick Loizzi Jr. has been with the Rutherford Police Department since 1987 and has served in various roles for PBA 300.
ALSO SEE (CLICK HEADLINES TO READ) :
: Both media reports and our numerous meetings in Trenton with legislative leadership and the Front Office indicate that talks are growing more aggressive to finalize some form of pension and/or health benefit change bill before the end of June.
: Another group of public officials in New Jersey is taking aim at police officers — this time for “slacking” since eight of their colleagues were let go. Their evidence? Fewer summonses over the course of a single month.
ONLY ON CLIFFVIEW PILOT : A state appeals court has upheld an arbitrator’s decision not to consider private-sector compensation for his award to Fort Lee PBA Local 235 because a police officer holds “a uniquely public sector position that does not lend itself to private sector comparisons.”
Police urge public to tell NJ lawmakers: We’ll remember in November
EXCLUSIVE : Police in a North Jersey town have launched a bold letter-writing campaign urging state lawmakers to think twice before backing Gov. Christie’s plans to cut police salary and pensions while hiking their health insurance costs — or face rejection at the polls this fall. (You can print a copy here to send to your local legislator.)
‘Me first’? Here’s how much you really pay for police, fire in NJ
AN OFFICER WRITES : As you already know, Governor Christie actually called the public safety community a “me first” group. As a police officer for 23 years, I resent the fact that an elected official — our “leader” — demonizes the very people who are here to protect him and our fellow citizens.
AN OFFICER WRITES : With all the buzz about Governor Christie’s “tool kit,” it’s important to understand that one of its goals is to end the Civil Service system in New Jersey. The result? A total politization of jobs that will make current patronage look minor in comparison. Instead, I propose a plan to reshape the system into a true money-saver that will award jobs based on merit, as it’s supposed to.
Gov. Christie called it a “me first” rally, and he was right — only he missed the point, organizers said. “When the fire bell rings or someone says shots are being fired, each one of the people in the crowd will say ‘me first’ through the door or ‘me first’ to the rescue,” Bill Lavin, president of the New Jersey Firefighter’s Mutual Benevolent Association, told the crowd.
YOU READ IT HERE FIRST : The latest bombshells in the battle between Gov. Christie and New Jersey public servants — just days from a huge rally in Trenton — come in the form of advisory letters that say state lawmakers can’t change a public employee’s pension once he or she has put in five years on the job.
New Jersey police, firefighters to rally in Trenton March 3
YOU READ IT HERE FIRST : Police and firefighters from throughout New Jersey plan to descend on Trenton on March 3 in a “Stand Up for Safety” rally aimed at countering Gov. Christie’s plan to roll back public employee benefits. “We have had enough and want to send a message,” State PBA member Jim Ryan told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .
Christie campaign letter promised ‘no harm’ to police, firefighter pensions
“The claim that any harm would come to your pension when I’m elected Governor is absolutely untrue. It is a 100% lie,” Chris Christie wrote to New Jersey law enforcement officers during his campaign against Jon Corzine. The 2009 letter, and a near-carbon copy sent to firefighters, has resurfaced amid Christie’s bid to overhaul public servants’ pension system.
Christie a wanna-be union buster
EDITORIAL : “First they got rid of unionists. I said nothing, because I was not a unionist. When they came for me, there was no one to protest.” Every one of us who has focused on Gov. Christie’s attempts to demonize public servants has missed a much bigger picture: This isn’t unique to New Jersey, as the Woodstock in Wisconsin has shown. A carefully constructed strategy to split the middle and working classes is going on throughout the entire country right now. And many of us are the pawns.
Christie doesn’t own the debate on public servants’ perks and salaries
EDITORIAL : I’ve tried not to connect the horrors visited on sworn law enforcement officers and their loved ones nationwide this year with Gov. Chris Christie’s assault on New Jersey’s public servants, out of respect for those injured and killed, but his calling on police unions Monday — of ALL days — to make concessions for the sake of public safety is plain insensitive.
AN OFFICER WRITES : In light of a recent newspaper article about police salaries in New Jersey being among the highest in the nation: First off, let’s remind ourselves that New Jersey’s cost of living is one of, if not the highest, in the country, and that most jobs in New Jer sey, including private sector jobs, pay more than other states.
Veteran cop takes on Christie, draws raves
Police statewide are hailing a veteran cop in a North Jersey town who is fed up with “the current climate of public employee bashing” and challenges Gov. Christie to “do the right thing” with taxpayer-funded pensions.
By Jerry DeMarco
EDITORIAL : Many are making much of a newspaper report that New Jersey police salaries are the highest in the land. To paraphrase a man who puts his life on the line every day to protect his community: Does a bullet feel any different if it’s fired in, say, Lyndhurst, than it does in Paterson? Know how many cops have been killed in the line of duty in Lyndhurst? Four. In Paterson? The same.
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