Police and Quinn

I read this on the MASSCOPS website.
 Re: Quinn Bill to be cut (and other PD money)
Published: May 10, 2009 12:50 am
Our view; Don’t stick communities with Quinn Bill costs

“The Massachusetts Legislature finally may be ready to pull the plug on the police pay boondoggle known as the Quinn Bill.
That’s great news for the state’s taxpayers. But legislators’ plans simply to cut funding for the program will leave many cities and towns stuck with its full costs. That isn’t right.
A better solution would be for legislators to muster up the courage to take on the police unions and phase the bill out over a few years. That would give municipal leaders a chance to adjust their labor contracts so that they would not be left owing police officers millions for the state’s share of Quinn Bill payments.
The Quinn Bill was a 1970 law intended to boost professionalism in police ranks by providing officers with pay increases for obtaining college degrees. However noble that purpose, the Quinn Bill has long since outlived its usefulness. The program now is little more than a pay-boosting scam.
Under the Quinn Bill, police officers receive a 10-percent pay hike for obtaining an associate’s degree, a 20-percent bump for a bachelor’s and 25 percent for a master’s. The increase applies not just to their base pay but to overtime and pension calculations as well.
The payments to officers under the bill amount to about $100 million a year. Cities and towns pay the full cost up-front and are reimbursed for 50 percent of their expenses by the state.
And that’s where the problem is. Both the House and the Senate are looking to the Quinn Bill as a source of savings as legislators try to balance their budgets. The House budget proposal cut Quinn Bill funding to $25 million, about half of the state’s share of the program’s cost. The Senate budget, due out later this month, is expected to eliminate Quinn Bill funding altogether.
That has municipal leaders howling. Many cities and towns have contracts with their police unions that require them to cover the full cost of the program even if the state cuts its funding.
Methuen is among those communities. Mayor William Manzi sent a letter to state Sen. Steven Baddour saying the state should not make cities and towns cover its share of the Quinn Bill tab.
Baddour counters that communities were never required to opt in to the Quinn Bill benefits. Nor did the state force them to sign contracts that left them liable for the state’s share of the funding. Manzi inherited his police contract from the previous administration.

[Note: Manzi did not submit those contracts for approval until August 2007, his 2nd year in office-seems there was time to read and renegotiate if needed.] webmaster note.   
Rather than play a blame game over who is responsible, it would be better to find a way to eliminate the Quinn Bill while giving communities — and police officers, for that matter — time to adjust to the loss of funding. Phasing the bill out over a few years would allow cities and towns to write Quinn Bill payments out of new contracts.
The Quinn Bill began with the best of intentions. But those intentions have gone awry as too many police officers obtain meaningless degrees at so-called “Quinn Mills” just to get the boost in pay.
It’s time to eliminate this expensive boondoggle, but in a way that does not place yet another financial burden on cash-strapped cities and towns.”

Shame that our Legislators are too busy to address this.

admin posted at 2009-10-26 Category: Police

One Response Leave a comment

  1. #1Jack Burke @ 2009-10-30 19:20

    Governor Patrck announced cuts in the Quinn bill, yesterday. And a commission to look into alternatives. Maybe someone is listening…..

    From the The MetroWest Daily News By David Riley/Daily News staff

    And the Quinn Bill, a “once-vital” incentive for police officers to pursue college education, “is a program we must begin to phase out,” Patrick said. He called for a special commission to look into alternatives.

    The program, which can give an officer a 10 percent to 25 percent boost in base pay, already took a significant cut earlier in the year. Some towns, but not all, have agreements to make up the state funding.

    “It certainly has municipalities throughout the commonwealth in disarray,” Suso said.

    Local police officials were concerned about the move.

    “If anything has helped professionalize police departments, it’s definitely been the Quinn Bill,” said Nick Mabardy, Natick’s interim police chief. “Education is key.”

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