MassCOP Supports Suit to Protect Quinn Bill Benefits For Mass. Police Officers
In a case that could have wide-ranging effect on the compensation paid to Massachusetts Police Officers, the Massachusetts Coalition of Police assigned its law firm of Sandulli Grace, PC, to file suit today in Barnstable Court on behalf of five Mashpee police officers in order to prohibit the Town of Mashpee from reducing Quinn Bill payments. If successful, the suit could benefit all educated police officers in the Massachusetts communities that adopted the Quinn Bill. Sandulli Grace attorneys Bryan Decker and Patrick Bryant filed the suit.
MassCOP President Hugh Cameron said, “The Quinn Bill is based on the idea that Massachusetts strengthens our public safety by strengthening the education of its officers. Thanks to the Quinn Bill, communities throughout the Commonwealth are protected and served by police officers who bring their higher education to bear on every call on every shift. The Town of Mashpee’s reduction of wages sacrifices the wages of the people who place themselves at risk for all of us. The actions by Mashpee and other municipalities in Massachusetts defeat the letter and spirit of the Quinn Bill.”
According to the lawsuit filed today, the Town of Mashpee adopted Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 41, §108L, known popularly as the Quinn Bill, several years ago. The law states that officers “shall … be granted base salary increase[s]” of 10% for an Associate’s degree, 20% for a Bachelors degree, and 25% for a Masters degree. Municipalities that adopted the Quinn Bill are eligible for reimbursement of 50 percent of the educational incentive paid to police officers.
Beginning July 1, 2009, Mashpee drastically cut the compensation paid to its educated Police Officers. The Town justified its sudden reduction in wages upon the State’s failure to fully fund its reimbursement during Fiscal Year 2009 as well as the Town’s estimate that the reimbursement will not be fully funded in Fiscal Year 2010. The Town further relied upon language in the collective bargaining agreement, which allows for the docking of employee pay for underfunded Quinn Bill reimbursements. (This contract language was negotiated prior to MassCOP’s affiliation with the local).
The lawsuit advocated by MassCOP seeks to stop the Town from slashing the pay of educated police officers or asking officers to return monies already paid to them. The lawsuit asserts that the Quinn Bill mandates towns and cities to pay the educational incentives as specified in the Law and prohibits collective bargaining language that allows for any reduction or recoupment of these educational incentives.
Read the Complaint