Barnstable Superior Court Justice Gary Nickerson has rejected the Town of Mashpee’s attempt to forcibly join the Mashpee police Union to the lawsuit brought by several Mashpee Police Officers who contend that the Town violated the law when it cut their Quinn Benefits. The Officers, represented by Sandulli Grace, successfully argued that the case involved a violation of the law by the Town, and that their union was not a proper party. “The Town was trying to muddy the issue in the case by seeking to join the Union as a party. We’re pleased that Judge Nickerson rejected this attempt, as we can now move forward to seek a ruling on the merits,” said Sandulli Grace Partner Bryan Decker, lead counsel on the case.
In the suit, the officers contend that the Town of Mashpee violated the Quinn Bill (found at G.L. c. 41, §108L) when it reduced Quinn payments to officers. The Town reduced the payments due to the state’s cutting of Quinn funding to municipalities. “The Quinn bill is a wage law that guarantees certain level of pay to officers who better themselves and their departments by seeking education. This is no different than if the Town sought to pay officers less than minimum wage. I certainly feel for the cities and towns that have suffered a back door local aid cut via the state’s underfunding of the Quinn program. However, that doesn’t allow those cities and towns to cut the pay of officers. Two wrongs most certainly do not make a right,” said Decker.
It should be noted that while the Union was properly found to NOT be a proper party to the suit, the plaintiffs’ union, the Massachusetts Coalition of Police, is fully supporting its members in their attempt to be paid all of the wages the law guarantees to them – including their Quinn Bill wages.