OK, just when you thought it was okay to put aside the Quinn bill case until the SJC issues a ruling, our “friends” over on Morrissey Boulevard decide they need to chime in on the case – by writing an editorial urging the SJC to rule against the right of officers to be paid according to the law. Yes, the Globe’s editorial board (not sure how many lawyers on that one) ran an editorial telling the state’s Supreme Judicial Court how to rule on a case. Here’s the editorial. http://bostonglobe.com/opinion/editorials/2011/11/17/dispute-over-police-benefit-don-leave-cities-holding-bag/b5lHRrNsAoIvC2sg6IFYNO/story.html
Totally apart from the merits of the Quinn Bill (many cities and towns, in addition to the vast majority of educated police officers, probably would disagree with calling the program a “boondoggle.”), the Globe is suggesting that the Court ignore the law because cities and towns are facing tough times. That’s a bit scary. Anyway, here’s what I wrote in a letter to the editor (wasn’t printed today, maybe they’ll print it tomorrow):
To the editor,
The Globe advocates that the Supreme Judicial Court disregard the law due to a fiscal crisis when it urges the Court to rule against Boston Police Officers seeking to enforce their statutory right to receive Quinn bill payments. Unfortunately for the Globe, the SJC is the ultimate arbiter of Massachusetts law; it is not the ultimate fiscal watchdog for the legislature and municipalities.
The Globe correctly points out that the officers’ unions agreed that the city would reduce benefits if the state did not reimburse the City for Quinn bill payments. However, because the law specifies the benefits levels, the parties were not free to enter into agreements that violate it. This is not a “narrow argument,” as the Globe suggests, it is the law. As John Adams so concisely stated, we are a nation of laws, not men.
The Globe has long editorialized against the virtue of the Quinn Bill. However, this case is not about the merits of that law, it is about whether the City of Boston can disregard the law during tough economic times. The Globe suggests the SJC turn down a dangerous path in advocating that the City be allowed to do just that.
Sandulli Grace, PC
(the author is counsel to the plaintiff officers in Adams v. Boston, the case at issue here, and argued the case before the Supreme Judicial Court)
In any event, the SJC has taken the matter under advisement. I don’t for a minute think that the Court will decide the case based on a directive from the Globe, but it’s disconcerting that the Globe editors would let their longstanding disdain for the Quinn program cause them to recommend that the law be ignored. If they want to take their case to the state house, they should. And we’ll be there, hopefully with Bob Quinn leading the charge, to continue to explain why and educated police force is in EVERYONE’s best interest. And you, as police officers, can also explain to the Globe how the law needs to be followed, even when they disagree with it.
Oh, and since the Globe’s editorial was less than unbiased, I feel fully justified in passing along this link about the paper’s circulation: http://www.theonion.com/video/boston-globe-tailors-print-edition-for-three-remai,17572/