AGAWAM – Mayor Richard Cohen introduced a resolution to the City Council urging the Commonwealth to fund the Quinn Bill again.
The state once paid for 50 percent of the pay increase officers received by order of the 1970 bill, known formally as the Police Career Incentive Program, Massachusetts General Law Chapter 41 Section 108L
. Depending on the level of an officer’s higher education, he or she would receive a 10, 20, or 25 percent increase to his or her base rate of pay.
The town’s annual budget still provides for the incentive, as ordered by the State Joint Labor Management Committee and Gov. Deval Patrick stopped funding the bill in the state budget two years ago, according to the resolution.
“I think it’s unfair,” Cohen said. “Either way, I’m not going to stop funding [it] because we deserve to continue to have the funding they [the officers] deserve.”
The law states, “Any city or town which accepts the provisions of this section and provides career incentive salary increases for police officers shall be reimbursed by the commonwealth for one half the cost of such payments upon certification by the board of higher education. The board of higher education shall certify the amount of such reimbursement to be paid to such city or town from information filed on or before September first of each year with said board, on a form furnished by it, the chief of police, or one of similar rank, of the city or town police department. Said information shall be filed on a form to be furnished by the board of higher education.”
According to The Massachusetts Office of Student Financial Assistance’s website, the state initially postponed the payments.
It states, “This section  postpones Quinn Bill reimbursements to police officers until fiscal year 2005. Notwithstanding section 108L of Chapter 41 of the General Laws any city or town which accepts the provisions of Section 108L of Chapter 41 of the General Laws after July 1, 2002 and provides annual career incentive bonus payments for police officers, shall not be reimbursed by the commonwealth for the commonwealth's share of those payments for either fiscal year 2003 or fiscal year 2004.”
News reports stated that cities and towns such as West Springfield and Chicopee have adopted other education reimbursement programs in place of the Quinn bill as an incentive for the higher education of their officers.