NJBFAA considers seceding from NBFAA

Thursday, July 30, 2009

HOLMDEL, N.J.—Members of the New Jersey Burglar & Fire Alarm Association will vote Aug. 11 on whether or not to break ties with the National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association.

Richard Trevelise, president of Reliable Safety Systems of Lakewood, N.J., and president elect of the NJBFAA, said that down economy has taken its toll on alarm dealers in this state. The vote was “member generated” by members seeking relief from the long list of dues and fees that New Jersey alarm company owners must pay every year for licensing, education and memberships.

“There are fees everywhere once you set foot in New Jersey,” Trevelise said.

There are some 1,200 alarm companies in New Jersey, and the NJBFAA typically has about 300 members. This year, membership is down, at roughly 175 members currently. Most of the state licensing fees and dues are not negotiable, but withdrawing from the NBFAA would be one way to reduce costs for members, Trevelise explained.

Companies pay $225 per year to belong to the state association, and an additional—not optional—annual fee to the national association. That fee is assessed according to the number of employees: $228 for companies with one to five employees; $390 for six to 10 employees; and $520 for 11 to 15 employees.

New Jersey is an active association that has an annual symposium, educational sessions, and runs four meetings a year in four regions of the state. “Typically there will be 30 to 40 members at each of those meetings,” Trevelise said. It has an executive office in Trenton, across from the State House, and it employs two lobbyists who monitor what’s going on in the New Jersey Legislature. Its members are “dedicated and educated,” Trevelise said, and they’ve been effective in making changes—in IRC codes and NFPA codes for example—both independently and in cooperation with the national association.

Trevelise said as a board member and an alarm dealer, “I see both the advantages and disadvantages to national affiliation.”

Trevelise said members will have to attend the Aug. 11 meeting to vote. They will also be able to hear from NBFAA president Mike Miller and NBFAA executive director Merlin Guilbeau at that meeting. 

Miller said the NBFAA recognizes that New Jersey is “in many ways self-sufficient.” He said he and Guilbeau look forward to talking to the New Jersey members about “all of the positive things that the NBFAA does for the state,” and, in particular, “showing the value of national affiliation to an independent state like New Jersey.”

“New Jersey is an important state to us,” said Miller. “We don’t want to lose them.”