Resolution Calling for Action to Prevent Unfunded State Mandates in the Police Career Incentive Pay Program (2010)

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As adopted by the members on January 23, 2010.

Whereas, the Police Career Incentive Pay program, commonly known as the Quinn Bill, was established by the Commonwealth in 1970 as an initiative to promote the college-level education of police officers;

Whereas, the Quinn Bill was established as a partnership program between the Commonwealth and the cities and towns of Massachusetts, with the state and participating municipalities each paying 50 percent of the costs of the program, and cities and towns decided to join the program based on the state’s pledge and commitment;

Whereas, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has reduced funding for its share of the program, and has budgeted only 17 percent of its share (covering less than 9 percent of the overall program cost), underfunding the Commonwealth’s obligation by $48 million in fiscal 2010, and has adopted language prohibiting any new officers from qualifying for future Quinn Bill payments;

Whereas, the Commonwealth’s action to unilaterally withdraw its support and commitment to the Police Career Incentive Pay Program threatens many participating cities and towns with the potential of an unaffordable and inappropriate new unfunded mandate, as it appears that a 1994 Supreme Judicial Court decision may require municipalities to assume the Commonwealth’s share of the Quinn Bill;

Whereas, those cities and towns that have provisions in their ratified collective bargaining agreements that state that the participating community is only responsible for funding the 50 percent municipal share are being sued by their police unions for full Quinn Bill payments, and in some cases with the threat of treble damages, creating widespread uncertainty and forcing unexpected legal expenditures; and

Whereas, local aid to cities and towns has been dramatically reduced by the Commonwealth, forcing deep cuts in essential municipal services, eliminating thousands of municipal workers, and increasing reliance on the regressive property tax, and cities and towns do not have the financial resources to pay for the Commonwealth’s broken Quinn Bill promise to local government and to municipal police officers.

Therefore it is hereby resolved by the members of the Massachusetts Municipal Association as follows:

Resolved, that the Commonwealth must enact into law a statute that clarifies that municipalities are not required to pay for the Commonwealth’s share of the Police Career Incentive Pay Program unless the municipality voluntarily agrees to do so through a collective bargaining agreement;

Resolved, that the Commonwealth enact into law a statute that clarifies that a collective bargaining agreement between a municipality and a police union that states that the municipality is only responsible for its share of the Police Career Incentive Pay Program is legal and binding on both parties; and

Resolved, that a copy of this Resolution shall be presented to the Governor and the members of the Legislature on behalf of the cities and towns of the Commonwealth.