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Thursday, January 15, 2015

HETTY ROSENSTEIN, LABOR CO-CHAIRPERSON OF THE STATE HEALTH BENEFITS PLAN DESIGN COMMITTEE AND CHARLES WOWKANECH, PRESIDENT, NEW JERSEY STATE AFL-CIO VS. STATE OF NEW JERSEY, DEPARTMENT OF TREASURY, DIVISION OF PENSIONS AND BENEFITS A-0945-12T1


HETTY ROSENSTEIN, LABOR CO-CHAIRPERSON OF THE
          STATE HEALTH BENEFITS PLAN DESIGN COMMITTEE AND
          CHARLES WOWKANECH, PRESIDENT, NEW JERSEY STATE
          AFL-CIO VS. STATE OF NEW JERSEY, DEPARTMENT OF
          TREASURY, DIVISION OF PENSIONS AND BENEFITS
          A-0945-12T1
Because 2011 amendments to the pension and benefits laws provided the State Health Benefits Plan Design Committee (SHBPDC) which consists of six labor and six administration appointees with the authority to create, modify or terminate the state health benefit plan or any of its components, the State Health Benefits Commission (SHBC) was not authorized to exercise its former authority in increasing retiree prescription copayment levels, and the Division of Pension and Benefits (the Division) erred in applying the SHBC's ultra vires determination regardless of the fact that the SHBPDC had reached an impasse yet to be resolved through super-conciliation. The court determined that, until resolution of the impasse, the prior copayment levels had to be maintained. The court also rejected the Division's arguments that appellants, who are members of the SHBPDC, lacked standing or that the exhaustion doctrine counseled against this court's intervention until completion of super-conciliation.