NPH Defends Police Officer’s Right to Remain Silent

NPH Attorney Meghan Cooper argued a case of first impression at the Appeals Court recently on behalf of NEPBA Local 911, the Worcester Police Patrolmen.  The Court will decide whether to uphold NPH wins at both the Civil Service Commission and the Superior Court, and determine whether an officer can be forced, under threat of termination, to testify at his own disciplinary hearing.  Atty Cooper worked closely with the Attorney General’s Office and the Civil Service Commission in defending these decisions.  We will keep you posted.

To read the Appeals Court brief NPH filed on behalf of the NEPBA member, click below.

Appeals Court Brief.Worcester and Civil Service Comm.

NEPBA Fights to Defend Police Officer’s Rights to Buy Military Retirement Credits

In a case of first impression in Massachusetts, Attorney Meghan Cooper fought to allow an NEPBA Bourne member the right to purchase back Military Retirement credits.  Based on a procedural loophole, the local retirement Board denied the member the opportunity to buy his time back.  Because the issue had never been fully litigated, NPH forced the issue and the decision, although unfavorable to the officer, will help to put all on notice of what their rights actually are.  Moreover, it is hoped that putting light on this issue will create a legislative solution to allow Veteran’s more flexibility in obtaining this benefit.  This decision should be read by anyone who may want to purchase back Military time.

To read our Pre-Hearing Brief, and the DALA Decision, click below.

Joint Pre-Hearing Memorandum

Final DALA Decision

NPH Wins Military Leave Benefits for NEPBA Worcester Sheriff’s Employees

NPH attorneys won an important Arbitration Decision upholding the rights of Officers at the Worcester County Jail to use their Military Leave benefits to cover weekend drills.  This practice had long been in place at the jail, and was unilaterally ended by the Sheriff, forcing the military officers to use their personal time, or go unpaid, in order to attend Military drills, even where they had plenty of contractual military leave days left to cover the days off.

NPH was proud to support this very important cause on behalf of NEPBA Local 550’s veterans.

To read our brief and the Arbitrator’s Decision, click below.

Brief of NEPBA.Military Leave WHOC

NEPBA and Worcester Sheriff’s Department award

Massachusetts Civil Service Residency Clarification – 10 Mile Requirement

There was a lot of buzz over the past year regarding the 10 mile residency limit for Civil Service employees imposed by GL c. 31, Sec. 58.  Of major concern to employees in border communities is the language in this section of the law that requires that they live “in the Commonwealth.”  As many know, this 10 mile requirement has been loosely enforced over the years, as most local governments simply used a system each found suited the needs of its Departments and their employees.  The issue came to a head recently due to some challenges at the Civil Service Commission; these challenges were not initiated by the Commonwealth or local governments, but were instead made by employees, protesting the residency of fellow employees who were set to receive promotions.  These protests brought the issue forward; the Commission basically ruled that the 10 mile limit within the Commonwealth was mandatory, and that compliance with this law was a precondition to qualifying for a civil service promotion.  Of course, a lot of scrambling followed.

In response, the Legislature amended Section 58 in its most recent Budget.  The amendment allows the 10 mile residency limit to be increased through collective bargaining.  While the 10 mile issue was addressed, there remained a concern that this amendment did not alleviate the border communities’ issue with living outside the Commonwealth.  This concern was borne out by the Governor’s veto of the amendment, in which he stated that, in his opinion, the amendment would allow employees to live out of state.  The legislature, having heard the Governor’s message, overrode his veto, and the amendment is now law.  As part of the amendment, the legislature added language to GL c. 150E, Sec. 7(d) further clarifying that the “third paragraph of Section 58 of Chapter 31″ is subject to change by collective bargaining.  Because both the 10 mile limit and the “in the Commonwealth” requirement appear in the third paragraph of Section 58, and because the legislature acted in the face of the Governor’s express concerns, it would be hard to argue now that the individual communities and unions cannot modify the Sec. 58 requirements so that employees may live beyond the 10 mile limit, and outside the Commonwealth.

We spoke recently to Senator Donnelly of Arlington who confirmed that the above analysis was the exact intention of his amendments.

Civil Service Commission Updates its Appeal Forms

The Massachusetts Civil Service Commission announced today that it plans, over the next several weeks, to update its appeal forms for both Promotional Bypass cases, as well as Examination Appeals. Forms are available on the Commission’s Website, and links to each are below: