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December 13, 2011

Re:      Update on Paterson Police PBA Local 1 et. al. v. Paterson

Dear Mayor:

As you may be aware, the City of Paterson is currently involved in litigation with their local police unions.  In essence, the dispute is over what constitutes “base salary” for the purposes of medical benefit deductions that are calculated as a percentage of base salary under P.L. 2010, C.2.  P.L. 2010, C.2, you may recall requires public sector employees to contribute a percentage of their base salary towards their medical benefits.

The local police unions argued that the City of Paterson, following guidance from the Division of Pensions and Benefits as well as the Division of Local Government Services, violated the law by basing the medical benefit contribution on 1.5% of pensionable base salary (which included items such as longevity, shift differentials, and education incentives), not just base salary.  The unions argued that only the contractual base salary should be used to calculate the employee’s required health care contributions, and not additional elements of pensionable compensation.  The Superior Court sided with the unions.  The City of Paterson appealed, and the case is currently before the Appellate Division.  Recently the Appellate Division granted Paterson’s motion to stay the decision of the Superior Court.  The League is currently involved as amicus in this case.

This is not a final victory, but is an indication that the Appellate Division believes the City of Paterson’s argument has some merit.  We will keep you updated on this litigation as it progresses.

If you have any question or need further information, please do not hesitate to contact League Staff Attorney Matthew Weng at or at 609-695-3481 ext. 137.

Very truly yours,


William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director






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