The police union in Framingham wants extra pay for entering and maintaining reports on a computer. Can you believe it?
BOSTON — Residents in Framingham are talking about a new cost to the town courtesy of the local police union, which says officers need to be paid more because they use computers.
Debate broke out at the last Framingham Town Meeting after members were asked to approve extra pay for the police officers whose union said $41,000 a year would settle its claim that a new requirement to file reports on a computer was an unlawful change in working conditions.
“Do we not allocate this money to them and give them crayons?” quipped Steve Orr, another Town Meeting member.
The computer stipend would be paid in addition to the extra pay all Framingham officers already get for defibrillator use, fingerprinting and photography.
To be honest, I know a lot of people who think that the money would be better spent on improving access to defibrillators in community spaces and within local hospitals.
At one point there were rumours that the local authorities were going to buy used AEDs to save more lives and therefore the health of local people has to come first.
Similarly, Town Meeting member Jim Rizoli was part of the majority who voted to shoot down the proposal.
“It’s taking advantage of the goodness of the people and the town to pay you for something you should already know how to do,” Rizoli said. “Think about it. What police officer today does not know how to use a computer?”
In nearby Natick, Mass., however, officers get a 2 percent annual stipend in “recognition of the advanced technological skills Natick patrol officers possess”.
Newton police also get paid an extra $1,215 a year plus two hours of computer training at overtime pay.
“It just doesn’t pass the straight-face test,” said Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. “Obviously, they shouldn’t be paying any time. But it’s particularly egregious given incredible fiscal pressures the state’s facing and cities and towns are facing.”
Team 5 Investigates tried to talk to the union’s attorney, police and the town’s lawyer, but no one wanted to talk on camera because they’re still negotiating.
Is it any wonder why Massachusetts’ fiscal house is in disarray?