A group of Scituate police officers have filed suit in Plymouth Superior Court alleging that the Town of Scituate failed to pay the officers the first of two biannual payments due under the educational benefits program.
According to The Patriot Ledger, the Scituate police officer’s contract with the Town includes language “holding the town to…half the cost.” Five officers filed the suit on behalf of the 20 Scituate officers alleged to be owed approximately $140,000. The officers contend that state law trumps their contract and Scituate should be forced to pay the full amount.
Scituate contends that the state statute references 50% state funding and that it should not have to pay the portion that the state is no longer covering.
The Quinn bill has cost about $100 million a year. That cost is generally split equally between the state and the local communities where the officers work. Recently, the state cut funding for the bill from $50.2 million in fiscal year (FY) 2009 to $10 million in FY 2010. Governor Patrick’s proposal for Quinn bill funding in FY 2011 further slashes the bill to just $5 million.
At least two other towns, Mashpee and Wrentham, have filed suit to reclaim the benefits arising from the passage of the Police Career Incentive Pay Program in 1970.
-Attorney John J. MacLaughlan