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.)
“Municipal police officers, county sheriff officers, county and state corrections officers, and the numerous officers that serve our state parks and colleges have all come under attack and are being vilified by the Governor’s administration and the media,” says the letter, prepared and distributed by members of the Andover Township F.O.P. Lodge #177. “I want you to know clearly where I stand on the issues facing New Jersey’s Law Enforcement Officers.”
The crisis in the state pension system, in particular, was “created solely by elected officials, both past and present, who for their own political reasons, failed to meet their statutory obligation to fund the pension system as mandated by law,” says the letter, forwarded to CLIFFVIEW PILOT for distribution. “This failure to fund the pension system is a violation of the government’s moral and legal requirements.”
What’s more, it says, issues such as pay, pension and health benefits should be resolved through collective bargaining, including binding arbitration — not by budgets or laws drawn up by the governor and voted on by the legislators.
Which brings you to the kicker:
“ I will vote in the November General Election for candidates who share my views and will represent my concerns. I will encourage all my friends and family to vote in support of the candidates who will represent those views,” the letter says, “and oppose any candidate who would deny these rights to the men and woman who protect our society.”
The officers are distributing the letter to their colleagues statewide — be they local or county police, sheriff’s or corrections officers or other law enforcement personnel affected by Christie’s ax-swinging.
“Now is not the time to worry about who is a member of the F.O.P. or P.B.A., a police officer, sheriff officer, or corrections officer,” the union members say in a separate mailing to their uniformed colleagues. “We all go to work every day and put ourselves at risk for the community and all work to protect the public and accomplish the same mission and goal.
“Please join us in forwarding this letter to all your members, coworkers, family, and friends.”
The goal is for all law enforcement supporters to print out and sign copies, then mail them to their local state lawmakers. You could also email yours.
For a copy of the letter that you can print out, sign and mail, CLICK HERE : Letter to NJ Legislator
For a listing of state lawmakers by town or district, CLICK HERE : Listing of state Legislators
(Once you’re there, scroll down the page a bit. You’ll be able to find what you need by working the sides.)
“If we do not work together now,” the Andover officers warn their colleagues, “we will only have ourselves to blame later.”
MORE (Click on the headlines to read):
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.
Saturday, 12 March 2011 By P.O. Vincent Kearney
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.
Thursday, 03 March 2011 By Jerry DeMarco
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
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 .
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.
: 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.
Monday, 31 January 2011 By Andover P.O. Joseph Indano
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 tha t Ne w 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
Wednesday, 17 November 2010 By Jerry DeMarco
Police statewide are haili
ng 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.
NJ police salaries aren’t the problem
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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