All posts by Leigh Panettiere

Sandulli Grace, P.C. and the Massachusetts Coalition of Police Present our 2019 Training Series

Sandulli Grace, P.C. and the Massachusetts Coalition of Police are proud to announce our 2019 police union training series.

Sandulli Grace and MassCOP believe in empowering MassCOP’s local unions through education, to create a stronger, safer environment for members. Our 2019 training sessions will give you tools to enforce your rights and improve your members’ working conditions.

Basics Trainings

In the past two years, MassCOP and Sandulli Grace have presented multiple “basics” trainings to our police unions. We believe there is a continued need for these trainings, as unions continue to elect new leaders, and new legal challenges present themselves every day. Topics include:

• Grievance Processing
• Discipline
• Bargaining
• Stress in the Workplace

Whether you are newly elected, or a seasoned union leader looking for ideas on how to make your job easier and more effective, these basics trainings can give you helpful information about issues that local unions face every day.

Our first basics training of 2019 will be held on Wednesday, January 30, 2019 at the Acton, Massachusetts Police Department. Please see the attached flyer for registration details. The cost is $55 per person. Payment can be by check mailed to Gia Capozzi at Sandulli Grace, P.C., 44 School Street, Suite 1100, Boston, MA 02018, or by credit card at this link: https://www.eventbrite.com/o/sandulli-grace-18167930473.

The second basics training of 2019 will be held in the fall at a location to be announced. We hold these trainings in difference regions of the state each time, to make it easier for all of our members to attend. Previous trainings have been held in Southbridge, Foxborough, Wakefield and Stockbridge.

Advanced Trainings

We presented an “advanced” training in October 2018, offering in-depth discussions of issues such as discharge, unfair labor practices, retirement, injury leave and health insurance. This training was extremely well-attended, and we decided to make it an annual event. Our 2019 advanced training will focus on bargaining your next contract – for example, gathering and identifying comparables, drafting proposals, negotiating at the table, analyzing ability to pay, getting the contract funded, and navigating the JLMC process. The 2019 advanced training will take place in the spring of 2019 (date and location to be announced).

We welcome your feedback regarding the location and content of these training sessions. Please do not hesitate to contact us with questions or suggestions at gcapozzi@sandulligrace.com.

Download the Flyer for Jan. 30 2019 Acton Training

Massachusetts Coalition of Police ADVANCED Training Seminar on Wednesday, October 3, 2018 from 8:30AM to 4:30PM

Sandulli Grace and the Massachusetts Coalition of Police are pleased to announce a day-long “Advanced” training for MCOP officials and members. It will take place on Wednesday, October 3, 2018 at the Doubletree Hotel in Westboro, from 8:30 to 4:30. Click here for a brochure with registration information.

MassCOP believes in empowering its local unions through education to create a stronger, safer environment for its members. Our trainings give you tools to enforce your rights and improve your members’ working conditions.

This advanced training will go beyond our recent “Basics” trainings, which are geared toward new local officials. Our “Advanced” training will be an in-depth discussion of challenging issues that arise day-to-day for police unions. It is geared toward all union members, and union officials with or without prior experience running a union. Topics will include:

• Unfair Labor Practices
• Management Rights
• Just Cause for Discipline
• Health Insurance
• Shootings and Other Critical Incidents
• Injured on Duty Benefits and Disability Retirement
• Regular Retirement Options
• Issues facing Public Safety Dispatchers
• Drafting and Processing Grievances

There will also be a discussion of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Janus v. AFCME Council 93.

Each topic will be taught by a team of Sandulli Grace attorneys. We will provide written materials you can take home with you for future use. There will be time for questions, and practical applications of the concepts discussed. At the end of the training, the attorneys will hold a half-hour “ask the lawyer” forum and take questions about any topic of interest to the attendees. There will be a luncheon, and the day will end with a cocktail reception.

To register, please e-mail Gia Capozzi at GCapozzi@sandulligrace.com.

Any questions can be directed to lpanettiere@sandulligrace.com. You may download the event flyer here

We look forward to assisting you in providing the best representation possible for your members.

Leigh Panettiere
Sandulli Grace, P.C.

Massachusetts Coalition Of Police 2018 Basics Training Seminar (for MASSCOP Local Officials & Members)

Sandulli Grace and the Massachusetts Coalition of Police are pleased to announce our second year of training sessions for MassCOP members.

MassCOP believes in empowering its local unions through education to create a stronger, safer environment for its members. This training will give you tools to enforce your rights and improve your members’ working conditions.

Our 2017 “basics” training sessions were extremely popular, especially with newly elected union leaders looking for guidance on the rights and responsibilities of union officials. We understand that union leadership changes rapidly, and so we will offer two more basics trainings in 2018. The first one will be on Thursday, June 28, 2018 from 11:00 to 3:00 at the Stockbridge Police Department. We invite all MassCOP members. We hope the location of this training will enable many of MassCOP’s western Massachusetts locals to attend.

Our second 2018 “basics” training will take place in November 2018, in Middlesex County (date to be announced).

We will also offer an advanced training in October 2018, which will address the following topics in depth: retirement options, disability, management rights, just cause, grievance v. ULPs, health insurance, and dispatch basics. This will be a full-day training at the Sheraton Framingham (date to be announced).

We hope that the availability of additional dates and different locations will help more members attend. Please see the attached flyer for registration for the June 28, 2018 Stockbridge training.

Sincerely,
The Massachusetts Coalition of Police and Sandulli Grace, P.C.

attached flyer for registration

Massachusetts Coalition Of Police 2018 Basics Training Seminar (for MASSCOP Local Officials & Members)

Sandulli Grace and the Massachusetts Coalition of Police are pleased to announce our second year of training sessions for MassCOP members.

MassCOP believes in empowering its local unions through education to create a stronger, safer environment for its members. This training will give you tools to enforce your rights and improve your members’ working conditions.

Our 2017 “basics” training sessions were extremely popular, especially with newly elected union leaders looking for guidance on the rights and responsibilities of union officials. We understand that union leadership changes rapidly, and so we will offer two more basics trainings in 2018. The first one will be on Thursday, June 28, 2018 from 11:00 to 3:00 at the Stockbridge Police Department. We invite all MassCOP members. We hope the location of this training will enable many of MassCOP’s western Massachusetts locals to attend.

Our second 2018 “basics” training will take place in November 2018, in Middlesex County (date to be announced).

We will also offer an advanced training in October 2018, which will address the following topics in depth: retirement options, disability, management rights, just cause, grievance v. ULPs, health insurance, and dispatch basics. This will be a full-day training at the Sheraton Framingham (date to be announced).

We hope that the availability of additional dates and different locations will help more members attend. Please see the attached flyer for registration for the June 28, 2018 Stockbridge training.

Sincerely,
The Massachusetts Coalition of Police and Sandulli Grace, P.C.

attached flyer for registration

Our Second Free Training For MASSCOP Local Officials And Members

Sandulli Grace and the Massachusetts Coalition of Police are pleased to announce the second in a series of free trainings for MassCOP members. The second training will be on Tuesday, September 12, 2017 and will be located in Foxborough. The curriculum for this training will be the same as the June 13, 2017 training. We hope that the availability of additional dates and different locations will help more members attend. Please see the attached flyer for registration information.

ANNOUNCING THE SECOND FREE TRAINING
for MASSCOP Local Officials and Members

For the convenience of our members, an additional training date has been added:
TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 12, 2017

Sponsored and run by MassCOP officials and attorneys from Sandulli Grace, P.C., this free session will train you on topics that matter to your members, including:

• How to draft and process contractual grievances
• Handling employee discipline issues
• Preparing for and engaging in contract negotiations
• Tackling stress in the workplace

MassCOP believes in empowering its local unions through education to create a stronger, safer environment for its members. This training will give you tools to enforce your rights and improve your members’ working conditions.

The second training session will be held on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, in the public meeting room at the Foxborough Public Safety Building,
8 Chestnut Street, Foxborough, MA 02035, from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Seating is limited, so please register by e-mailing GCapozzi@sandulligrace.com.

Other dates and locations to be announced

For more information, please visit our web sites:
www.sandulligrace.com
www.masscop.org

– LUNCH WILL BE SERVED –

Download the Flyer For Sept. 12 2017 Regional Training

FREE TRAINING for MASSCOP Local Officials and Members

FREE TRAINING
for MASSCOP Local Officials and Members

TUESDAY JUNE 13, 2017

Sponsored and run by MassCOP officials and attorneys from Sandulli Grace, P.C., this free session will train you on topics that matter to your members, including:

• How to draft and process contractual grievances
• Handling employee discipline issues
• Preparing for and engaging in contract negotiations
• Tackling stress in the workplace

MassCOP believes in empowering its local unions through education to create a stronger, safer environment for its members. This training will give you tools to enforce your rights and improve your members’ working conditions.

The first training session will be held on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, at the Southbridge Police Department, 1 Mechanic Street, Southbridge, MA, from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Seating is limited, so please register by e-mailing GCapozzi@sandulligrace.com.

For more information, please visit our web sites:
www.sandulligrace.com
www.masscop.org

– LUNCH WILL BE SERVED –

Flyer for June 13 2017 Training Southbridge

Workers’ Compensation Recipients Not Required To Reimburse Employer From Settlement Proceeds Allocated To Pain And Suffering

Employees who receive workers’ compensation benefits may not sue their employers in tort.  G.L. c. 152 Sec. 24.  Employees may, however, file claims against third parties.  G.L. c. 152 Sec. 15.  If the employee recovers damages from the third party, the employer is entitled to a statutory lien on the recovery, unless the recovery is greater than the amount the insurer paid the employee.  In that case, the employee may keep the “excess,” which is defined as “the amount by which the gross sum received in payment for the injury exceeds the compensation paid under this chapter.”

In DiCarlo v. Suffolk Construction Co., decided by the SJC on Friday, an employer who had paid out workers’ compensation benefits to an injured employee was seeking a portion of the “pain and suffering” damages the employee received from a subcontractor whom the employee had sued in tort.  The damages arose from a settlement agreement.  The employee agreed to accept less money from the third party than he had received in total from the employer in workers’ compensation benefits, but the agreement specifically allocated a percentage of the payout to pain and suffering.  The employer argued that pain and suffering damages should be included in its lien.  The employer took the position that the “gross sum received in payment for the injury” included pain and suffering.

However, the SJC allowed the settlement agreement to carve out pain and suffering damages for the benefit of the employee.  The court held that the workers’ compensation statute does not allow an employer to be “reimbursed” for pain and suffering damages, because an employee cannot recover for pain and suffering under the workers’ compensation statute – only for wages.  The court clarified that an insurer “cannot be reimbursed for something that it did not pay.”  The decision can be read here.

Sandulli Grace And The Massachusetts Coalition Of Police Win Night Shift Differential Pay For The Community Service Officers In The Braintree Police Officers Association

In contract negotiations between the Town of Braintree and the Braintree Police Officers Association, MCOP Local 365, the Town proposed the new position of Community Service Officer (CSO).  The Town proposed the CSO as a specialty position that could be filled without regard to seniority, an exception to the usual practice. The Town also proposed to “flex” the officers’ schedules, which meant that the officers would only receive overtime if they actually worked more than eight hours in a day – not if they were required to work an entirely different shift because of the needs of the job.

The contract language did not specify how the CSOs would be compensated.   However, the Town agreed that the CSOs would work a flexible schedule “in the same fashion as currently worked by the Narcotics Unit.” This was sufficient to convince the union to agree to the proposal, because the narcotics detectives worked a flexible schedule, and were paid the night shift differential all the time. The night shift differential made up for the negative aspects of the position, and “sold” the proposal to the union.

Once the position was filled, however, the Town refused to pay the CSOs the night shift differential, taking the position that it was not required to do so because the pay rate was not stated in the contract. The union filed for arbitration. On January 20, 2016, the arbitrator issued his award, agreeing with the Union and ordering the Town to pay CSOs the nights shift differential. (The award can be viewed here.)

This is an important victory for the Massachusetts Coalition of Police and the Braintree Police Officers Association. The arbitrator acknowledged that, by agreeing to a specialty position which the Chief could fill without regard to seniority, the union was obviously making a concession, and it would not be reasonable to expect the union to do so without getting something in return. In this case, what the union expected to get in return was the night shift differential. The arbitrator, Timothy Buckalew, showed great respect for the challenges of police collective bargaining. It was a hard-fought and well deserved victory, and I congratulate the Braintree Police Officers Association!

 

Town of Millbury and Millbury Police Association, MassCOP Local 128 – Termination of Kimberly Brothers

On July 19, 2013, Arbitrator Timothy Buckalew reinstated Millbury Police Detective Kimberly Brothers, who terminated in August 2012 for allegedly “harassing” three residents of the Town.  Two women who had formerly dated Detective Brothers’ boyfriend, and one who had recently ended her friendship with Detective Brothers, accused Detective Brothers of either following them in a cruiser, or parking near their workplaces in order to intimidate them.

The Union, represented by Attorney Leigh Panettiere of Sandulli Grace, P.C., demonstrated at the arbitration that Det. Brothers, a busy and well-respected detective who before being promoted to detective was an extremely productive patrol officer, had been assigned to official police duties that often brought her near the homes and workplaces of the accusers.  The Union was also able to present numerous instances of inconsistencies and untruths in the testimony of the three accusers, and that the accusers were all talking to each other about Det. Brothers.  Additionally, the Union demonstrated that the investigator failed to inquire about any of the inconsistencies in the stories the accusers told.

The Arbitrator rejected the allegations of harassment.  He called the Town’s investigation “hasty and inadequate.”  He found that all three of the accusers were motivated to lie, and he found Det. Brothers to be “credible and consistent.”

The Town also accused Det. Brothers of “excessive texting,” clearly in an attempt to shore up the weak harassment allegations.  The Police Department had no policy on texting.  The Town never reviewed the text records of any other officer in the department, and did not even give Det. Brothers an opportunity to defend herself against this allegation during the investigation.  Moreover, the Union presented testimony of fellow officers and the Chief of Police that Det. Brothers did not text on duty any more than other officers in the department.  The Arbitrator credited the testimony of those witnesses, and stated, “the Town cannot not show excessive texting when it has no standard from which to argue the employee deviated.”

The Arbitrator delivered the Millbury Policy Association a resounding victory in this case, ordering Det. Brothers reinstated with full back pay and restoration of all benefits, including details and overtime.  Det. Brothers returned to her Detective position on August 26, 2013.  This is the third in a series of recent victories for the Millbury Police Association.  The Arbitrator’s Award in the Kim Brothers case can be read here.