The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, December 10, 2010

Police union agrees on new 3-year contract

The Board of Selectmen on December 7 approved a new contract with the police union. The Memorandum of Agreement with the Carlisle Police Officers Bargaining Unit will cover the years 2010-2013. The effect is a 0% increase in base pay for FY11, a 1.5% increase for FY12 and 2.8% increase for FY13. Effective July 1, one additional holiday is added, the day after Thanksgiving, to bring the total to 12 holidays. Further, effective January 1, 2011 the town will pay the full level of benefits set forth in the Carlisle Police Educational Incentive Plan.

According to Selectman Doug Stevenson, the additional educational incentive will amount to a total of roughly $20,000 in FY11 and $40,000 in FY12. The police annual budget is approximately $1 million. Combining the raise in base pay and the education incentive, Stevenson estimates the new contract will increase the total police budget by 2% in FY11, 3.5% in FY12 and an additional 2.8% in FY13.

The purpose of the Police Career Incentive Pay Program, or Quinn Bill, enacted in 1970 by the Massachusetts legislature, was to encourage police officers in participating municipalities to earn degrees in law enforcement and criminal justice and to provide educational incentives through salary increases. The Quinn Bill has provided Massachusetts police officers who obtain college diplomas – from associate’s to master’s degrees, in accredited criminal-justice related programs – with annual bonuses representing 10%, 20%, or 25% of their salaries. Half is supposed to be reimbursed by the state. Most recently the state has only been reimbursing 5% rather than 50%. Many communities, Carlisle included, have paid their share to officers but have not covered the state’s shortfall. Going forward, Carlisle will pay 100% of the incentive, regardless of whether or not the state provides reimbursement.

Lawsuits have been filed by police unions in several communities to recover that shortfall from the towns, including Wrentham, Mashpee, and Scituate. Selectmen Chair John Williams said that one aspect of the current Memorandum of Agreement is that “Carlisle will be held harmless” from any such bonus recovery effort. The Union acknowledges that it is not entitled to any lost Quinn Bill payments from July 1, 2009 through December 31, 2010. ∆

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