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Sunday, April 19, 2015

I/M/O TOWN OF HARRISON AND FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE,LODGE NO. 116

I/M/O TOWN OF HARRISON AND FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE,LODGE NO. 116;I/M/O VERNON TOWNSHIP PBA LOCAL 285 CONTRACT;I/M/O BOROUGH OF RAMSEY AND PBA LOCAL NO. 155;I/M/O TOWNSHIP OF WOODBRIDGE AND PBA LOCAL 38;I/M/O CITY OF LINDEN AND FMBA LOCAL NO. 234;I/M/O TOWN OF HARRISON AND FMBA LOCAL NO. 22;I/M/O TOWN OF
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HARRISON AND PBA LOCAL NO. 22;I/M/O TOWN OF HARRISON AND FMBA LOCAL NO. 22;I/M/O CITY OF LINDEN AND FMBA LOCAL 234 A-0083-11T2/A-0099-11T2/A-0123-11T2/A-0124-11T2/A- 0157-11T2/A-0158-11T2/A-0159-11T2/A-0195-11T2/A-0208- 11T2(CONSOLIDATED)
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Five
officers and firefighters employed by them have mounted a collective legal challenge to the Acting Director of the Division of Pensions and Benefits' decision to refuse to implement the final determination of the Board of Trustees of the Police and Firemen's Retirement System, which found certain senior officer and longevity pay provisions in the collective bargaining agreements entered into by appellants were creditable compensation for pension purposes under N.J.S.A. 43:16A- 1(26)(a).

The singular legal question before us is whether the Acting Director of the Division of Pensions and Benefits has the legal authority to refuse to implement a final decision of the PFRS Board of Trustees because the Acting Director has independently concluded that the decision of the PFRS Board of Trustees is legally incorrect. We hold the action of the Acting Director to refuse to implement a final determination made by the PFRS Board of Trustees concerning what constitutes creditable compensation for pension purposes under N.J.S.A. 43:16A-1(26)(a) in these cases was ultra vires, without legal force or effect. Final determinations of the PFRS Board of Trustees are reviewable only by this court. N.J.A.C. 17:4-1.7(e); R. 2:2-3(a)(2).
     Judge Ashrafi has filed a separate concurrence.