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Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson most recently ruled that body camera footage can be released under the State’s Open Public Records Act and ordered Burlington County to release a partial police body camera video that the county was attempting to keep private. The video footage requested involved the interactions of a Kevin Lewis with sheriff’s officers who responded to a courthouse altercation in which Mr. Lewis was involved. Judge Jacobson ordered that most of one recording will be provided to…
According to an article published in NJ Spotlight, New Jersey’s public-employee pension fund investments generated returns totaling 9.06% for fiscal year 2018. Some of the investments that were credited for lifting the fund’s overall performance included U.S. equities and real-estate holdings. The NJ pension system covers the retirements of approximately 800,000 current and retired public workers in New Jersey. The system uses an assumed rate of return of 7.5% in accordance with a policy enacted under…
As reported by NJSpotlight.com, a proposal to move some state and local employees to a new 401(k)-like pension system is gaining support because it has the potential to save billions of dollars. However, long before anything is adopted, it is likely to draw strenuous pushback from the public workers’ labor unions. The recommendation is to move new hires and employees with less than five (5) years of service out of the defined-benefit pension system…
The City of Paterson is looking at the possibility of ending its longstanding practice of using self-insurance for employee medical coverage and switching to New Jersey’s State Health Benefits program, as reported in Northjersey.com. By doing so, Paterson believes that it would save approximately 20 million dollars given that its cost for employee medical coverage in 2020 is estimated at 67 million, compared to 44 million under the state plan. Paterson’s current cost for health…
As reported in Northjersey.com, the Murphy Administration has reached a health care deal with the state’s public workers’ unions that is expected to yield approximately $500 million in savings over the next two years. The pact directs union members and retirees to utilize “in-network doctors” and “generic prescription drugs”, according to a report by the Record. These are the same cost-cutting measures that have been employed by private sector employees for years. The plan represents…
Recently, the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division (“Appellate Division”) issued an opinion in the case In the Matter of Frank Harkcom, Bayside State Prison, Department of Corrections.  This case reinforces the fact that New Jersey Public Safety Officers must be mindful if there is a temporary (“TRO”) or final restraining order (“FRO”) entered against them and the impact the same can have upon their employment going forward. In Harkcom, a Correction Officer appealed his…
As reported by NJ.com, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued a ruling wherein video of New Jersey Police Officers chasing down and arresting suspects will not be turned over to the public and the media in many cases. A divided Supreme Court ruled 4-3  in the matter entitled Paff v. Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office that police dashboard videos are criminal investigatory records exempt under the State’s Open Public Records Act, known as OPRA, which…
In New Jersey under an existing employment regulation, state employees can donate unused time off to a co-worker who has exhausted his/her own allotted leave bank due to a catastrophic illness or injury that has kept them from returning to work. As reported on the website, NJSpotlight.com, State lawmakers want to see this longstanding policy become codified as a matter of law. Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, the legislation’s primary sponsor, has been trying for…
As reported by the New Jersey Law Journal, the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division (“Appellate Division”) ruled that the State’s Public Employment Relations Commission (“PERC”) has near-exclusive jurisdiction over labor disputes between public workers and their employers. To this end, the three judge panel stated PERC has “exclusive jurisdiction to decide complaints arising under the New Jersey Employer-Employee Relations Act.” “We further hold that the Law Division does not have jurisdiction to…
As reported in multiple news sources, the current New Jersey State budget signed into law by Governor Philip Murphy increased state spending by more than one billion dollars and a large portion of that increase is going to the state’s grossly underfunded public-employee pension system. The new budget adds $700 million to what the state will be contributing to the retirement plans for teachers, judges and other government workers during the 2019 fiscal year. This will push…