-By Seth Daniel
Common sense and the City of Revere have found a friend this week in State Auditor Suzanne Bump.
Bump’s office has determined that the new hack holiday law is an unfunded mandate and, thus, Revere has the right to fight the law in Suffolk Superior Court.
“I made the request,” said Mayor Tom Ambrosino, who called the situation “foolishness” last March. “Probably sometime this summer, after Bunker Hill Day and after discussion with Boston and the other Suffolk County communities, the City will probably commence a legal action to obtain a Superior Court judgment that we are exempt from this legislation until such time that the Commonwealth provides funding, thereby allowing us to close on these holidays next year and avoid making overtime payments.”
The new law was instituted in the 2010 State Budget and addressed the “hack holidays,” which are affectionate terms for the holidays of Evacuation Day (March 17) and Bunker Hill Day (June 17). Those holidays were given to state workers and municipal workers from Boston, Revere, Chelsea and Winthrop. In last year’s budget, the holiday was stricken from the rolls, and employees were ordered to go to work on those days.
However, lawmakers didn’t execute the change very well.
Instead of saving money, Revere and other Suffolk County municipalities ended up paying more money due to union contracts that still designated those days as holidays. Therefore, workers who reported to work on Evacuation Day last March were making time-and-a-half overtime pay.
There were 34 workers that reported to work on Evacuation Day in Revere.
Bump’s Division of Local Mandates (DLM) declared last week that the new law is an unfunded mandate on local communities, and noted that it would cost Revere more than $40,000 over the next three years.
Offices that are required to be staffed are the library, water and sewer billing, elder affairs, veterans’ affairs, purchasing, solicitor, city clerk, treasurer, assessor and collector.
Under the Local Mandate Law, the State Auditor’s Office has the authority to determine if a proposed or existing state mandate imposes any direct service or costs on a city or town. Elected municipal leaders, appointed managers, school or educational collaborative officials, as well as lawmakers and legislative committees may petition DLM for an opinion and request a cost impact analysis.