Tag Archives: MCOP

Another Year, Another Successful MCOP Educational Seminar

On April 27, 2009, The Massachusetts Coalition of Police hosted its annual Police Educational Seminar for a packed audience in Westborough.  As in the past, the attorneys of Sandulli Grace, joined by outside experts, presented on a variety of timely legal topics.  Over the years, the annual seminar has become a premier educational event for Massachusetts police officers.

As usual, the topics this year were informative and timely.  (See the program here – See photos from the seminar here).  After a welcome from MCOP President Hugh Cameron and MCOP In House Counsel Tim King, Sandulli Grace Attorneys Susan Horwitz, Amy Davidson and Ken Grace talked about creative alternatives for bargaining in these tough economic times.  Joining them was Carol Chandor from Boston Benefits Partners.  Carol is an expert in public sector health care and gave an incredibly informative talk about how to judge various health plan alternatives, including the GIC.

After a break, Sandulli Grace Attorneys Joe Sandulli and John Becker discussed how to deal with the reality of layoffs, a topic that’s unfortunately too current.  SG’s Alan Shapiro and Bryan Decker then gave a blow-by-blow of the historic injunction MCOP and the BPPA were granted against the “banding” of police promotional scores.

The educational portion of the event ended with Sandulli Grace attorneys Leigh Panettiere and Patrick Bryant, joined by Police Lawyer Extraordinaire Thomas Drechesler and noted Psychologist Leo Polizoti, discussing the pitfalls of off duty misconduct.  Dr. Polizoti’s frank, behind-the-scene look at what goes into a psychological fitness for duty exam was the highlight of the day.

The day was capped off with a late lunch, during which Ken Grace recognized the winners of this year’s Sandulli Grace/MCOP Scholarship Essay Contest.  The annual event, open to the children of all MCOP members, awards 4 scholarships based on essays in response to a police related topic.  This year’s topic was the value of having sworn police officers providing traffic coordination at construction sites.  All of the essays were excellent.

Stay tuned next Spring for the announcement of the 2010 MCOP / Sandulli Grace police educational seminar.


White House Honors Police Officers, Bppa President Tom Nee; Mcop Officers Recognized

On May 12, 2009, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden honored the Top Cops of the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO).  In addition to praising the daily heroism of police officers, President Obama singled out Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association, Inc. President Tom Nee for his leadership as NAPO President.  Sandulli Grace, PC, is proud to have the BPPA and Tom Nee as a client.  Massachusetts Coalition of Police President Hugh Cameron, another Sandulli Grace client, also attended the ceremony as a NAPO Area Vice President.  MCOP member Richard Cochrane of the Peabody Police Department received an honorable mention from Top Cops whereas Dalton Police Department’s Geoff Powell, also a MCOP member, was a nominee.

            Sandulli Grace congratulates Nee, Cameron, Powell and Cochrane, in addition to all other police officers, for their quiet service and dedication to the public good. 

            Below is the official transcript of the ceremony for NAPO’s Top Cops released by the White House.            


Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release                               May 12, 2009


Rose Garden

2:38 P.M. EDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Welcome to the Rose Garden.  Ladies and gentlemen, let me begin by saying —

THE PRESIDENT:  They can sit down.

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  They can sit — yes, you can sit down.  (Laughter.)  I just assumed you were going to sit down.  I apologize.  Thank you, Mr. President. Tommy — you stay standing up, though, for me.  I don’t want you — (laughter.)

Let me begin by saying congratulations.  It’s an honor to be in the presence of the best of the best here standing behind us.  You’re all been an inspiration to the men and women of not only this country, but your fellow officers.  You’ve been an inspiration to the thousands and thousands of people who strap on a sidearm and go out every day to do their job.

When you strap on that sidearm and you walk outside your home every morning — every morning, or evening, depending on their shift — your wives and your husbands that you leave behind know that you are literally putting yourselves in harm’s way, every time you walk out that door.

And the President and I recognize the bravery you display simply by putting on that badge every day — just putting the badge on.  The officers honored here today have been singled out for going above and beyond the call of duty and we commend you all. But we also know that there are thousands more like you in communities throughout this country, large and small, doing their part every single day — as we speak right now — in their communities, making them safer but also making the community stronger.

Today is a day for every man and woman in uniform to feel proud of you, and to feel proud of themselves. Today is a day for the entire community of police officers to see how much America appreciates their courage, and to let you know that the President and this administration appreciate your courage, as well.  Your sacrifices and acts of heroism don’t go unnoticed.  I think sometimes you must feel like they do.  You do your job every day, you don’t expect any particular thanks or gratitude, you change people’s lives for the better and — but it’s warranted on a day like today to pay special recognition.

You’ve already seen some evidence of the President’s commitment, beyond his entire career of being committed to law enforcement.  The President’s commitment to the level of support for law enforcement can be seen in the Recovery Act.  Over $4 billion was placed in that emergency legislation to hire new officers, for new equipment such as bulletproof vests, and for new technologies, to give you the tools to do your jobs more safely and more efficiently.

You keep us safe.  We owe you.  (Applause.)  We owe you to put you in a position where you can keep yourselves safe, as well.

And you’ve seen the President’s commitment to you by bringing this ceremony back to the Rose Garden.  Mr. President, in the Roosevelt Room you said you wanted to let the public know.  And I was about to say — which I’ll say here — and that’s why the President wanted it back here in the Rose Garden.

So there’s no mistake, there’s no mistake that this President and this administration appreciates what you’ve done.  We know this commitment — (applause.)  I’ll conclude by saying, you should know this commitment will not stop today or tomorrow or next month or next year.  We’re going to work and continue to work, as the President has his entire career, for what serves you best so that you can serve us as best and as bravely as you have.

Ladies and gentlemen, while we don’t say it nearly enough, thank you, thank you, thank you for all what you do.

So Mr. President, the Top Cops for 2009, a superior group of real heroes, are waiting to hear from you, boss.  It’s all yours.  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, thank you, Joe, for the wonderful introduction.  Welcome, all of you, to the White House, and for joining us on this beautiful spring day.  It is an extraordinary privilege to celebrate these Top Cops who have traveled here to be recognized for incredible acts of courage and quick thinking, which prevented harm and saved lives.

Before I speak more about these outstanding officers, there are just a few wonderful members of Congress that I want to introduce.  Representative John Conyers, one of the deans of the House of Representatives — (applause) — Republican Emanuel Cleaver from Kansas City — (applause) — and Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard, great to see you.  Thank you so much.  Please give them a big round of applause.  (Applause.)

Now, I don’t know if you guys are aware that we have a nickname for Joe Biden around here in the White House.  Joe has been overseeing the way funds are being used under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to ensure tax dollars are going toward the intended purpose of creating jobs and aren’t being wasted.  So we’ve taken to calling him “the sheriff” — because nobody messes with Joe.

And I want you to know that he is making sure that money is getting on the ground helping local communities, including making sure that money is going to allow local communities to hire more police officers and make sure that they’ve got the equipment and the training they need to succeed.

I also want to thank Attorney General Eric Holder for being here and for his leadership at the Department of Justice, which oversees much of the funding in the recovery plan and the budget that will be providing local law enforcement the resources they need.

And finally, I want to give a particular welcome to the leaders of the National Association of Police Organizations, including their outstanding president, Tom Nee.  Thank you so much for being here.

This is an event that we are glad, as Joe mentioned, to bring back to the White House — after a period of absence — in honor of these fine officers and the folks across the country they represent:  the men and women who walk the beat, who answer the call, and do the difficult work of keeping our neighborhoods safe.  And it’s no surprise that many police officers — including many of you -– have served in our military, or are serving still as members of the Reserve.

Of course, it’s not a difficult thing for a President, or a Vice President, or anyone one of us to praise you.  You deserve it.  You’ve rescued hostages held at gunpoint.  You’ve ended violent standoffs.  You’ve taken on gunmen in the face of grave danger, refusing to give up or back down even after suffering serious injuries.  You’ve reacted quickly in crisis to protect the innocent.  You’ve reacted with compassion for those that were in need.  And you’ve literally walked through the fire to help your neighbors escape disaster.

That’s what police officers do.  You step into harm’s way to form — officer by officer, block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood — the line between safety and violence, calm and chaos, hope and despair.  And for that it’s not difficult to offer our praise.  But you deserve more than just praise.  For it’s far more important that we actually support you; that we match these words which come so easily with the work that can and must follow.

Right now, for example, at this moment of economic challenge, one of the greatest concerns is that we’ll see state and local governments forced to lay off police officers — even though we know that crime has a tendency to go up when the economy is in dire straits.  We’ve seen that in my own hometown of Chicago and many other cities.

So we can’t back down, because the job of every American depends on the job you do — and the resources that enable you to do that job well.  Police officers know better than anyone:  A neighborhood that isn’t safe is a neighborhood that isn’t growing, that won’t see old businesses hiring new workers, or new businesses opening their doors.  You know how devastating crime can be; how it can shatter lives and undermine whole communities.

And that’s why the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act includes $1 billion to save or create about 5,500 jobs through the COPS program.  And there’s another $2 billion in grants which will help keep police officers on the beat and in the job.

In fact, in March I went to Columbus, Ohio, to speak at their police academy’s graduation ceremony. And these new officers are now protecting the streets of Columbus because of those grants — and there are similar stories being told in precincts all over America.

The budget we passed builds on the recovery plan, providing additional funding for the COPS program as well as for Justice Assistance Grants, also known as the Byrne-JAG program.  Taken together, we’re making a significant down payment towards my administration’s goal of adding 50,000 police officers across this country. (Applause.)  And that’s only part of what we’re doing to provide law enforcement with the tools and resources necessary to keep people safe.

As you know, this is a difficult moment for our nation.  But at a time when we face economic crisis born partially from irresponsibility on Wall Street and in Washington, I’m heartened by the folks who are standing behind me today who’ve demonstrated, with acts of selflessness and bravery, what it means to be responsible; what it means to be a problem-solver, a mediator, an investigator, and protector all wrapped into one; what it means to wave goodbye to your families and start another shift unsure of how it will end; and what it means to put your life on the line for a partner or a stranger in order — in other words, what it means to serve.

So I want to thank all of you for this extraordinary service.  I am honored to welcome you to the White House.  I’m proud to offer my congratulations, my appreciation, and most importantly my administration’s unwavering support.

God bless you and God bless the United States of America.  Thank you, all, for joining us here today.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

Judge Orders HRD To Not Issue Banded Eligibility Lists Pending Consideration Of Motion For Preliminary Injunction

Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Bruce Henry today ordered the Human Resources Division to NOT issue any eligibility lists for police promotion until after he rules on the request for a preliminary injunction submitted by Sandulli Grace attorneys on behalf of the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association, the Massachusetts Coalition of Police, and individual test takers.  As we noted last week, we have challenged the Civil Service Commission’s rubberstamping of HRD’s decision to band.  Judge Henry today heard argument on our request for an injunction, and indicated that he will issue a decision on the injunction request soon. 

 At the hearing, HRD, represented by counsel from the Attorney General’s office, continued to insist that banding is lawful in the face of HRD’s rule that says scores have to be put out in “whole numbers.”  “Bands 1 to 7 are whole numbers, just like 1 to 100,” was essentially what HRD contended.  Attorney Shapiro responded that, under that logic, the bands could be 1 to 2 (pass/fail), 1 to 1,000 (scores broken to tenths of a point), or 1 to 10,000 (scores broken to hundredths of a point).  In other words, the Commonwealth contends that its rule has no substantive meaning.

After the Judge ordered that no lists be established utilizing banding, counsel for HRD complained that some unnamed municipalities could lose funding for promotions if they are not made quickly.  Sandulli Grace’s Alan Shapiro quickly pointed out that HRD is free to issue lists based on the 10/08 tests – as long as it follows its own rule and lists the scores by whole numbers from 1 – 100. 

As always, we’ll keep you posted.


Bppa And Mcop Request That Civil Service Commision Hold Speedy Hearing On Legality Of Decision To “Band” Promotional Test Scores

The Civil Service Commission today held a pre-hearing conference in the “banding” cased filed by Sandulli Grace on behalf of the Mass. Coalition of Police (MCOP) and Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association (BPPA).  At the hearing, Sandulli Grace attorneys Bryan Decker and Alan Shapiro, along with other appellants, contested the issues with counsel for the Human Resources Division (HRD) for almost two hours.  At the end of the hearing, Civil Service Commissioners Bowman and Taylor took the action under advisement, promising to quickly rule on what action the Commission will take, if any.

From the beginning of the hearing, HRD counsel made clear the agency’s position that it is entitled to make whatever rules it would like regarding test administration and grading, and that it does not need to justify its decision to any other party.  The scope of HRD’s hubris was revealed when Commissioner Bowman asked counsel to respond to our argument that “banding” scores violates HRD’s own rule requiring that scores “be presented on eligible lists in whole numbers.”  The HRD attorney replied that the bands, expressed as “Band 7,” “Band 6,” etc., are “whole numbers.”  The retort drew audible laughter from the crowd in the hearing room.  Atty. Shapiro replied that, presumably, the rule was put into place when HRD went from establishing lists with scores expressed in one or two decimal points to rounded off whole numbers.  Therefore, under HRD’s logic, HRD could comply with its rule by expressing scores in a system of 1 to 1,000 or 1 to 10,000, and the rule would mean nothing.  Atty. Decker added that, with this logic, HRD could make the test results “Pass-Fail,” just by assigning only scores of 1 or 2.  HRD had no real counter to these arguments but continued to insist that it could do whatever it wanted in establishing lists, provided it was not arbitrary or capricious.

Under questioning from Commissioner Taylor, HRD counsel admitted that HRD had consulted with the chiefs of police regarding banding.  When Commissioner Taylor asked if the unions representing police officers were consulted, she replied they had not, suggesting there were too many of them.  Sandulli Grace clients MCOP and BPPA, who together represent almost 5,000 police officers, were never consulted by HRD.  It became rather obvious whom HRD viewed as more important in this process.

On the larger issue, the Sandulli Grace attorneys contended that banding flew in the face of both the statutory “2N + 1” system, and the overall intention of a civil service system.  Quoting from a 2005 Connecticut Supreme Court case  which rejected any deviation from the “2N + 1 system,” we contended that banding would conflict with the overall design of a governmental civil service system:

“to secure more efficient employees, promote better government, eliminate as far as practicable the element of partisanship and personal favoritism, protect the employees and the public from the spoils system and secure the appointment to public positions of those whose merit and fitness have been determined by proper examination”

Specifically, MCOP and BPPA asked the Commission to take the following actions:

  • Conduct a speedy hearing to ascertain whether HRD is acting within its authority in establishing eligible lists by banding;
  • Order HRD not to send out any eligibility lists using banding until the issue has been decided by Civil Service;
  • After the hearing, order that HRD follow its own rules and establish police promotional lists using whole numbers, unless and until it lawfully changes the rules.

In response to questioning from Commissioner Bowman, HRD did indicate that it will not be prepared to establish eligibility lists until the end of March at the earliest even absent the appeal.

In perhaps the most telling comment, when asked about the practicality of appointing authorities in large cities having to wade through dozens of names to make a single appointment, the HRD attorney replied that when HRD posted a job, hundreds of people applied.  Here we see again the ultimate goal of HRD and its friends among the appointing authorities: the conversion of a merit-based civil service system to a private sector unregulated model.

We now await the Commission’s decision on what the next step will be.  Stay tuned.