Quit fluffing your feathers and trying to convince us that you have more value than we perceive.

Framingham police officers and fire fighters have over-inflated views of their value to our society.

The Town of Framingham did not place any ball and chains on your ankles. If you are not satisfied with your job or pay, please feel free to move on in your lives, but please stop whining like little children.

You are free to improve your lives in any way you choose, including getting what you believe is a better job.

Do not ever forget that you are public servants and work on behalf of the taxpayers.

A rift develops over Quinn Bill payments Friday, February 5, 2010
Dan McDonald 508-626-4416 Metrowest Daily News
FRAMINGHAM -- The police officers union and town management is at loggerheads over the Quinn Bill.

The town, which will continue to shoulder it's half of the education-based incentives for police, says it should not have to pick up the state's tab.

Gov. Deval Patrick approved a state budget last summer that included gouges to state funding for the Quinn Bill.

In Framingham, those cuts left the town with a $450,000 deficit.

The union says not so fast, buying a quarter page ad in the MetroWest Daily News that read, "Framingham Police Officers Union needs your support. The Town Manager and the Police Chief are refusing to support education of their Police Officers."

The town has dismissed the ad as misguided.

But the union's attorney, Alan McDonald, says the town would be unwise to keep its hard line toward the funding.

He says it will lead to a mass exodus of experienced cops who will either transfer to other departments or retire so that they will not see their pensions depleted.

In Framingham, 24 officers hold law or masters' degrees, 36 hold bachelors' degrees and 12 hold associates' degrees, all in law enforcement-related subject matter.

According to a press release issued by the town, the economic recession and reductions in new growth, excise taxes, and other available state aid, means Framingham "is simply without the financial means to pay for the state's legal obligation to fund its historic one-half share of Quinn Bill reimbursements in this fiscal year."

"Fortuitously, we have contract language that anticipated this ... and we're honoring our contract," Town Manager Julian Suso said recently. "It's the state that has failed to meet its legal obligations."

But despite Suso's comments regarding existing contract language that accounts for such a situation, McDonald was not sold that such language would hold up if challenged.

"There is some contention over the legality of the escape clause that he is talking about," said McDonald.

"That kind of escape clause is being litigated and may or may not hold up," said McDonald.

A number of towns, including neighboring Wayland and Natick, have picked up the state's slack, said McDonald.

"The town's that are doing it are going to continue to attract and retain the best police," said McDonald.

In another newspaper advertisement police union states, "It is the town and not the commonwealth that is ultimately responsible for the quality of policing in Framingham."

"Those managers can wring their hands and blame the governor and legislature for shortchanging them, or they can provide the leadership expected of them and find a solution to the problem," it read.

McDonald says the town will "undermine the quality," of the police force and that not funding the Quinn Bill is unfair.

"They're encouraged to get a degree, expend their own money to pay for college and they get the rug pulled out form under them," said McDonald.

Historically, the state and the town had split the Quinn Bill costs 50/50.

"It is a very unfortunate situation," said Suso.

In Framingham, college educated police receive the following pay boosts: 10 percent of their base for an associate's degree, 20 percent for a bachelor's degree, and 25 percent for the master's degree. An officer's base pay ranges from $40,102 for a rookie patrolman on the day shift to $52,044 for a senior night patrolman, according to police. A sergeant's starting pay in Framingham is $60,105. A lieutenant's starting salary is $73,332. Captains are paid upward of $86,000. A deputy chief's base can range from $98,881 to $99,793, according to the town's chief financial officer.

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