Chairman Gordon, Chairman Brady and Members of the Public Service Committee,
Please accept this letter as the written testimony of the New England Police Benevolent Association (NEPBA) and its many locals and members from across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts with regards to the following bills:
HB2808 – An Act relative to providing a COVID-19 retirement credit to essential public-sector workers
SB1669 – An Act relative to providing a COVID-19 retirement credit to essential public-sector workers
These two bills go a long way to recognizing the dangers, risks and stresses that our public safety community was and is exposed to in carrying out their duties to protect the public during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Whether it was or is in our neighborhoods, on our public higher education campuses or at a state or county correctional facility, these police and correction officers did not stay home but answered their call to protect and serve, regardless of the dangers, risks and stresses caused by the COVID-19 contagion. And, because they fulfilled their duty, our communities never lost our source of protection from crime and peace and order was maintained throughout these unprecedented times.
This type of loyalty to their oath and the citizens that they serve is above and beyond and should be recognized by the increased retirement credits for essential employees contained in HB2808/SB1669
This COVID -19 Essential Employee Retirement Credit will properly honor and compensate this extra-ordinary loyalty to duty.
Also, I just want to make sure that the Massachusetts Port Authority Police officers come under the definition of an employees of a political subdivision of the commonwealth. If not then language needs to be added to include them.
The NEPBA represents police and support personnel in more than 120 bargaining units across our State. Our members span the Commonwealth – they are from both large and small departments in Western, Southeastern, Central and Eastern Massachusetts Police Departments, all the way to the tip of Cape Cod. They are law enforcement working for our MassPort Police Department, protecting our vital passenger and cargo infrastructure, as well as our UMASS police and Boston School police, protecting our students and education communities. The NEPBA family also includes the hard-working corrections officers and civilian staff in Middlesex County, Worcester County and Norfolk County, as well as the Massachusetts Department of Corrections’ Captains.
Our locals represent the best of Massachusetts’ working families. I write to you on behalf of these members, and on behalf of those working families, some of whom were either quarantined or actually contracted the COVID-19 virus from their essential public employee family member, who was infected during the carrying out of the duties of their job.
For the above reasons, we ask that you report these bills out favorably and with the requested amendment for the MassPort Police, if needed to include them.
Jerry Flynn, Executive Director
New England Police Benevolent Association