SENATE, No. 1392

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

214th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED FEBRUARY 11, 2010

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  LORETTA WEINBERG

District 37 (Bergen)

Senator  STEVEN V. OROHO

District 24 (Sussex, Hunterdon and Morris)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Requires PERS to train employers on enrollment requirements; requires employers to certify validity of PERS enrollment; requires assignment of investigator; clarifies penalty for providing false information to PERS.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning compliance by public employers with the requirements for the Public Employees’ Retirement System and amending P.L.1954, c.84.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    Section 17 of P.L.1954, c.84 (C.43:15A-17) is amended to read as follows:

     17.  Subject to the provisions of P.L.1955, c. 70 the general responsibility for the proper operation of the Public Employees' Retirement System shall be vested in the board of trustees.  Subject to the limitations of the law, the board shall annually establish rules and regulations for the administration and transaction of its business and for the control of the funds created by this subtitle. Such rules and regulations shall be consistent with those adopted by the other pension funds within the Division of Pensions in order to permit the most economical and uniform administration of all such retirement systems.

     The membership of the board shall consist of the following:

     a.     Two trustees appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate, who shall serve for a term of office of three years and until their successors are appointed, who shall be private citizens of the State of New Jersey and who are neither an officer thereof nor active or retired members of the system.  Of the two trustees initially appointed by the Governor pursuant to P.L.1992, c.41 (C.43:6A-33.1 et al.), one shall be appointed for a term of two years and one for a term of three years.

     b.    The State Treasurer or the Deputy State Treasurer, when designated for that purpose by the State Treasurer.

     c.     Three trustees elected for a term of three years by the member employees of the State from among the active or retired State members of the retirement system in a manner prescribed by the board of trustees.

     d.    One trustee elected for a term of three years by the member employees of counties from among the active or retired county members of the retirement system and the same method of holding an election from time to time used for the State employees' representatives shall be followed in elections held for county representatives.

     e.     Two trustees elected for a term of three years by the member employees of municipalities from among the active or retired municipal members of the retirement system and the same method of holding an election from time to time used for the State employees' representatives shall be followed in elections held for municipal representatives.

     A vacancy occurring in the board of trustees shall be filled by the appointment or election of a successor in the same manner as his predecessor.

     Each member of the board shall, upon appointment or election, take an oath of office that, so far as it devolves upon him, he will diligently and honestly administer the board's affairs, and that he will not knowingly violate or willfully permit to be violated any provision of law applicable to this act.  The oath shall be subscribed to by the member making it, certified by the officer before whom it is taken and filed immediately in the office of the Secretary of State.

     Each trustee shall be entitled to one vote in the board and a majority of all the votes of the entire board shall be necessary for a decision by the board of trustees at a meeting of the board.  The board shall keep a record of all its proceedings, which shall be open to public inspection.

     The members of the board shall serve without compensation but shall be reimbursed for any necessary expenditures.  No employee shall suffer loss of salary or wages through the serving on the board.

     The State Treasurer shall designate a medical board after consultation with the Director of the Division of Pensions, subject to veto by the board of trustees for valid reason.  It shall be composed of three physicians who are not eligible to participate in the retirement system.  The medical board shall pass upon all medical examinations required under the provisions of this act, shall investigate all essential statements and certificates by or on behalf of a member in connection with an application for disability retirement, and shall report in writing to the retirement system its conclusions and recommendations upon all matters referred to it.

     The board shall require a certifying officer to complete training on eligibility for enrollment in the retirement system in accordance with the provisions of P.L.1954, c.84 (C.43:15A-1 et seq.) and the rules or regulations promulgated thereto.  The Division of Pensions and Benefits shall develop, and the board shall approve, the form and content of the training and the board shall determine when a certifying officer shall complete the training.  The board may require the training to include such additional retirement system matters as the board deems necessary to ensure compliance.  The training shall be provided through the Internet and shall be accessible from the official Internet site of the State.  A certifying officer required to complete the training shall submit to the division an acknowledgement of such completion in the manner required by the division.

     The board shall require a certifying officer and the officer’s immediate supervisor to certify in writing, at the time of an enrollment of a member and annually for each member of the retirement system, that the person enrolled is eligible for enrollment in the retirement system in accordance with the provisions of P.L.1954, c.84 (C.43:15A-1 et seq.) and the rules or regulations promulgated thereto.  The certification shall require the signer to acknowledge the penalty set forth in section 55 of P.L.1954, c.84 (C.43:15A-55) for knowingly making a false statement, or falsifying or permitting to be falsified any record, application, form or report of the retirement system, in an attempt to defraud the system as a result of such act, and any other penalty that may be imposed.  The board may require a similar certification for any other record, report, form, or application as the board may deem necessary to ensure compliance.

     The board shall require the Division of Pensions and Benefits to assign at least one investigator to work full time reviewing and analyzing information contained in forms, reports, and applications submitted to the board and division, and investigating such other matters regarding the retirement system as may be required by the board or the division, to ensure compliance with the provisions of P.L.1954, c.84 (C.43:15A-1 et seq.) and the rules or regulations promulgated thereto.  In the alternative, the board may enter into an agreement with another State agency to perform such duties.

     As used in this section, “certifying officer” means an officer or employee of the State or an employer other than State who is responsible for submitting to the retirement system such information, and for performing the duties relating to matters concerning the retirement system with respect to each of the employees of the employer, as required of the employer by the provisions of P.L.1954, c.84 (C.43:15A-1 et seq.) and the rules or regulations promulgated thereto, and by the board and division.

(cf:  P.L.1992, c.41, s.13)

 

     2.    Section 55 of P.L.1954, c.84 (C.43:15A-55) is amended to read as follows:

     55.  A person, including a certifying officer, who knowingly makes a false statement, or falsifies or permits to be falsified any record, application, form, or report of this retirement system, in an attempt to defraud the system as a result of such act shall be guilty of a [misdemeanor] crime of the fourth degree.

(cf:  P.L.1954, c.84, s.55)

 

     3.    This act shall take effect on the 60th day following enactment, but the board of trustees of the Public Employees’ Retirement System and the Division of Pensions and Benefits in the Department of the Treasury may take such anticipatory administrative action as may be necessary to implement the provisions of this act.


STATEMENT

 

     The bill amends the statutes concerning the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) to require a certifying officer to complete training on eligibility for enrollment requirements in the PERS.  “Certifying officer” is defined in the bill to mean an officer or employee of the State or an employer other than State who is responsible for submitting to the retirement system information, and for performing the duties relating to matters concerning the retirement system with respect to each of the employees of the employer, as required of the employer by law, the PERS board of trustees, and the division.  The Division of Pensions and Benefits will develop, and the board of trustees of the PERS will approve, the form and content of the training and the board will determine when a certifying officer will complete the training.  The training will be provided through the Internet and accessible from the official Internet site of the State.  A certifying officer required to complete the training must submit to the division an acknowledgement of such completion in the manner required by the division.  The board may require the training to include such additional retirement system matters as the board deems necessary to ensure compliance.

     The bill requires each certifying officer and the officer’s immediate supervisor to certify in writing, at the time of an enrollment of a member and annually for each member of the retirement system, that the person enrolled is eligible for enrollment in the retirement system.  The certification must include a statement that it is a crime of the fourth degree, under N.J.S.A.43:15A-55, to knowingly make a false statement, or falsify or permit the falsification of any record, application, form, or report of the retirement system, in an attempt to defraud the system as a result of such act.  The board may require a similar certification for any record, report, form, or application as the board may deem necessary to ensure compliance.

     The bill requires the Division of Pensions and Benefits to assign at least one investigator to work full time reviewing and analyzing information submitted to the board and division for enrollments, reports, and applications, and investigating such other matters regarding the retirement system as may be required by the board or the division, to ensure compliance with the law.  In the alternative, the board may enter into an agreement with another State agency to perform such duties.

     Finally, the bill clarifies that it is a crime of the fourth degree to knowingly make a false statement, or falsify or permit to be falsified any record, application, form, or report of the retirement system, in an attempt to defraud the system as a result of such act. The law, enacted in 1954 and not changed since then, uses the term “misdemeanor” which is now a crime of the fourth degree, as revised with the changes to the criminal code.  This bill adds “application, form, or report” to the penalty provision as items that are not to be falsified.

     This bill is based on the recommendations of the Office of the Inspector General as set forth in the report “Professional Services Provider Enrollment in the PERS,” issued December 15, 2009.