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Council co-signs letter to Speaker DeLeo urging Salary Reserve veto override

On Monday, July 9, Providers' Council President & CEO Michael Weekes co-signed a letter with other members of The Collaborative -- the Association for Behavioral Healthcare and the Association of Developmental Disabilities Providers -- requesting Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo support an override of the Governor's veto of the Salary Reserve. Gov. Patrick's veto would reduce the Salary Reserve for human service workers from a $20 million fund for an annualized raise to $10 million for a one-time payment for a workforce of 31,500 workers who have gone five years without a raise.

Please see below to read the letter in its entirety.

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July 9, 2012

The Honorable Robert A. DeLeo
Speaker of the House
State House
Room 356
Boston, MA 02133

Dear Speaker DeLeo:

On behalf of the human services sector and our low-paid direct care staff, we ask that you override Governor Deval Patrick’s veto of the Human Services Salary Reserve (1599-6901). Before Governor Patrick signed the budget, he vetoed this critical item in the Legislature’s budget that won near unanimous approval in the House under your leadership just two weeks earlier. We appreciate your longtime support as a great friend of human services. 

The Governor vetoed $10 million of the $20 million Salary Reserve that would have given a modest salary increase to human services workers making under $40,000 per year. In a supplemental proposal, he also changed the Salary Reserve language so it would be given as a one-time payment and not annualize into workers’ salaries.

Governor Patrick plans to send the Legislature a supplemental budget proposal for $10 million, redirected from the Salary Reserve for employees, to fund Chapter 257 of the Acts of 2008, landmark rate-setting legislation that was passed four years ago. While we support funding rate-setting, we do not support doing so by taking money out of the pockets of some of the lowest-paid employees in the state.

By an overwhelming majority, the House approved the FY ’13 budget which included a $20 million annualized Salary Reserve. It would have been the first annualized salary increase human services workers have received in the last five years, and it would have been an estimated increase of between 1 and 2 percent for most employees. Employees would have received an annualized increase of $635/year on average; under the Governor’s proposal, they will receive a one-time payment of less than $1 per day.

We again appreciate your incredible support of human services, and we would be pleased to meet with you to discuss this issue in further detail. Please help the 31,500 low-paid direct care workers in Massachusetts by overturning the Governor’s veto, and give these dedicated employees their first annualized salary increase in five years. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Gary Blumenthal
ADDP

Vic DiGravio
ABH

Michael Weekes
Providers’ Council