Providers’ Council In the News
For more information about the Providers' Council news coverage or to request an interview with Providers' Council President and CEO Michael Weekes, please email Bill Yelenak or call him at 617-428-3637 x122.
For a sampling of news articles that mentioned the Providers' Council over the past few years, please see below.
"I think it's gotten to the point where the nature of the problem is beyond dispute," said (Who Will Care?) report co-author Michael Goodman, executive director of the Public Policy Center at UMass Dartmouth. "Now armed with this information, it's time for our leaders to develop a plan for doing something about it." [Read more]
In a letter to the editor of The Republican of Springfield, Paul Banusewicz writes, "The Republican outlines, based on a report by the Massachusetts Council on Human Service Providers, how the state is having difficulty finding enough human service workers to satisfy the need. ... Perhaps if they were paid a living wage, more people would accept jobs in this field. [Read more]
BNN Host Chris Lovett interviews Council President and CEO Michael Weekes about the human services workforce crisis in the Commonwealth and some of the solutions the Council has proposed. [Watch]
The Providers' Council report Who Will Care? was mentioned in a story that was localized on the North Shore. “We have baby boomers who are aging and are going to require additional care,” said Northeast Arc Chief Executive Officer Jo Ann Simons, adding, “I have children and adults today waiting for services because I can’t find the staff to help them.” [Read more]
Nearly three-quarters of human service providers surveyed said they have had trouble filling job openings over the past three years, according to the Providers' Council, a statewide association of health and human service agencies that conducted the study. [Read more]
“We're going to need up to 25,000 additional workers in order to be able to fulfill the needs of serving the commonwealth's residents with human services," Michael Weekes said. "If there's not an adequate workforce in order to provide care, that's going to affect just about all of our communities in Massachusetts." [Read more]
According to a new report by the Providers’ Council, there is a massive and growing worker shortage in Massachusetts, namely in the human services jobs that provide care to the elderly, the disabled, veteran communities, domestic abuse victims and individuals with substance abuse problems. [Read more]
“These trends are creating a series of downward spirals that are compounding the problem,” said Providers Council President and CEO Michael Weekes, in a statement. “Prolonged vacancies are creating stress and burnout, leading to reduced productivity and more turnover. Desperate efforts by providers to recruit and retain employees are draining scarce resources that could otherwise go toward wages.” [Read more]
"Michael Weekes, president and CEO of the Boston-based Providers' Council, a statewide association of health and human service agencies, recently said an aging population combined with advances in health care that, for example, enable people with autism and those with brain injuries to live longer, are increasing demands on social services nonprofits." [Read more]
In a Letter to the Editor, Board Member Daniel Nakamoto writes, "Simply put, nonprofits provide essential services supports to area residents that they would be unable to receive elsewhere. We hope a city or town would not seek to divert funding that helps vulnerable residents by imposing a tax or a fee on nonprofits." [Read more]
"Even without state budget cuts, Michael Weekes, president and CEO of the Boston-based Providers' Council, a statewide association of health and human service agencies, said the state's strong economy—the unemployment rate was 2.9% in November—will make it harder for social service agencies, especially smaller ones with fewer resources, to compete with the private sector to recruit and retain workers." [Read more]
The Providers' Council ranked #22 among the state's advocacy and lobbying groups in the Commonwealth, as ranked by the Boston Business Journal based on total revenue for each organization's most recently reported tax-filing year. [Read more]
“We can only hope that the campaign rhetoric that stoked fires of bigotry, misogyny, and xenophobia...doesn’t manifest itself in policies and practices that govern this nation,” said Michael Weekes, chief executive of the Boston-based Providers’ Council, a statewide association of human services organizations. “If that language translates into policies, then we’ve got a problem.” [Read more]
"I’ve always felt that one of the toughest jobs in state government is the role of DCF, social workers, management, and staff," said Michael D. Weekes, president and chief executive of the Massachusetts Council of Human Service Providers, and a deputy commissioner of the child welfare agency during the Weld administration. "Very difficult decisions that have to be made on a daily basis that affect thousands of lives, and it’s challenging." [Read more]
May 18, 2015 - Nonprofits hungry for new leadership (Boston Globe)
“Those are sobering numbers,” said Michael Weekes, chief executive of the Boston-based Providers’ Council, a statewide association of human services organizations. “Society really depends on having a strong network of nonprofit organizations with strong leadership.” [Read more]
"I think this settlement will be widely heralded by our provider community as an important victory not only for the community-based organizations that will be affected by it, but more importantly for the clients and the consumers who will undoubtedly receive a different level of services than they have before," said Michael Weekes, president and CEO of the Providers' Council, an umbrella organization representing human service providers. [Read more]
March 26, 2015 - Low Pay May Limit Ability to Hire Mass. Human Services Workers (Massachusetts Nonprofit Network)
Nearly 20% Massachusetts human services workers earns at or below 200% of poverty, a common threshold used to calculate service eligibility, according to Beyond Social Value: The Economic Impact of the Human Services Sector, commissioned by the Providers’ Council, a statewide association of private, community-based care giving organizations, to assess the sector’s economic impact on Massachusetts. [Read more]
March 26, 2015 - Human service providers, Baker administration still negotiating over rate reimbursement lawsuit (The Republican)
A coalition of human and social service providers sued the state this summer, arguing that then-governor Deval Patrick's administration failed to fully implement a 2008 law raising the reimbursement rates for human service workers who contract with the state. [Read more]
March 26, 2015 - Report: Human services sector's growth felt in economy (Worcester Business Journal)
“While the social benefits of the sector that provides critical care to one in ten Massachusetts residents are well known, the sector’s significant economic impact on the Commonwealth had not been quantified until this report,” said a statement Wednesday from the Providers’ Council. [Read more]
March 25, 2015 - Massachusetts' human service industry grew by 48 percent since 2003, report finds (The Republican)
"Not only are we providing great social value, we're also providing economic value as well," said Michael Weekes, president and CEO of the Providers' Council. [Read more]
These nonprofit, community-based organizations were not responsible for maintaining a bridge connecting Long Island to the mainland. Their job was to provide essential rehabilitation services for the Commonwealth’s residents. [Read more]
February 18, 2015 - AG Maura Healey makes inquiry into insurance claim rejections for two Long Island shelters (Boston Globe)
“We are disappointed but also surprised at their decision to deny the claims for these organizations,” Weekes said Wednesday. “It puts some of our members in a very awkward position, since they had absolutely no control or responsibility for the condition of the bridge.” [Read more]
January 21, 2015 - Baker cites $765 million budget shortfall (Boston Globe)
“There’s some level of anxiety related to a number that large,” said Michael Weekes, president and chief executive of the Massachusetts Council of Human Service Providers, which represents health and human service agencies in the state.
Weekes added he wanted to see specifics from the administration before commenting further. [Read more]
STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, JAN. 13, 2015...The new Baker administration has been ordered by a Superior Court judge to fully implement within the next 90 days a 2008 law aimed at updating rates paid to human service providers after a coalition sued Gov. Deval Patrick's team over the summer for missing the law's deadline. ...
The coalition behind the lawsuit included the Massachusetts Council of Human Service Providers, the Association for Behavioral Healthcare, the Association of Developmental Disabilities Providers, Massachusetts Early Intervention Consortium and the Children's League of Massachusetts. [Read more]
Munson has been named the 2014 Richard J. Bond Executive of the Year by the Provider’s Council — the state’s largest human services trade association, with more than 300 member agencies. “It’s an honor because I respect the Provider’s Council so much,” Munson said. “To be named was very exciting.” [Read more]
Baker will inherit a lawsuit from the Providers’ Council — composed of 270 private, community-based providers — aimed at the state’s failure to fund the salary increases. He promised during the campaign to make good on the raises, which is only right given his role in the creation of this system. But Baker also needs to rid the human services network of “redundant, preposterous regulations,” according to Providers’ Council president Michael Weekes. Ensuring that providers document their services and justify their costs is imperative, said Weekes. But providers are drowning in financial reports, audits, personnel minutiae, and endless documentation that goes well beyond the requirements of accountability. [Read more]
BOSTON — With less than six weeks until election day, about 10 to 20 percent of the electorate is undecided in the competitive governor’s race and a forum yesterday did little to sway the opinion of some of the attendees. Democrat Martha Coakley has led in some polls, while another showed her statistically tied with Republican Charlie Baker. The three independents, Scott Lively, Evan Falchuk and Jeff McCormick, have yet to gain traction in surveys with voters, and Coakley and Baker have yet to close the deal in some cases. Four of the candidates attended a Providers’ Council forum in Boston’s Faneuil Hall yesterday, where they spoke broadly about the need to support human services workers. Lively, an anti-gay Springfield preacher, was not invited. [Read more]
BOSTON - Four candidates for governor - Republican Charlie Baker, Democrat Martha Coakley and independents Jeff McCormick and Evan Falchuk – agreed on most issues relating to helping human service workers and their patients at a forum Wednesday at Faneuil Hall. The forum was sponsored by the Providers' Council, an umbrella group of human services workers. [Read more]
In the candidates’ first joint appearance since the primary election narrowed the field, Falchuk, who continues to score support in the low single digits in most polls, said the state has failed to fully implement a 2008 state law that regulates reimbursement rates for service providers because political insiders are resistant to change.
All four candidates who took part in the forum hosted by the Providers’ Council, a statewide association of health and human services agencies, said they would implement the law, which has prompted providers to sue the Patrick administration for failing to establish new rates. [Read more]
Watch Jon Keller's report on the WBZ website.
BOSTON — One by one, four of the candidates for governor on Wednesday praised the work done by the men and women who provide human services throughout Massachusetts, and promised to improve rates of pay and make it easier for them to serve needy residents. [Read more]
The forum at Boston’s Faneuil Hall was sponsored by the Providers’ Council, the state’s largest human service trade group. [Read more]
The most truthful statement in Margery Eagan’s column was “To be clear, we don’t know for sure what happened in Walpole” (“A child’s allegations swept away — again,” May 22). [Read more]
Michael Weekes, head of the human services-focused Providers’ Council, said lawmakers have long pledged to provide more adequate funding, but delivery has been delayed due to the recession. “We think the commonwealth is in a good place to live up to its promise,” he said on Tuesday. He added that some human service workers, eighty percent of whom are women, are working two and three jobs to make ends meet because of the low pay. [Read more]
Advocates called on state legislators to support new funding for human services in Massachusetts in an annual rally and lobby day at the State House on Tuesday. Over 600 human-services workers, their clients, and supporters from across the state packed the Great Hall for the event, before calling on their elected representatives to endorse around $200 million in additional financing in the next budget. [Read more]
Hundreds of workers who help developmentally disabled people descended on the State House Tuesday, hoping to convince lawmakers to give them a raise. Caregivers said many of their colleagues work two or three jobs to scrape together enough money to get by. Human service workers earn between $11 and $12 an hour, according to Lynette MacIver, one of the care workers who visited lawmakers with the group The Caring Force, a statewide coalition of human service agencies. [Read more]
With 145,000 people working in human services in Massachusetts, employment in the field has increased nearly 50 percent between 2003 and 2011, a recent report from the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute revealed.
The Providers’ Council, a statewide association of heath and human service agencies, commissioned the Beyond Social Value report, released Wednesday. The report highlights a growing need for government financial assistance with the growing human service sector, which creates jobs for substance abuse problems, child welfare, the elderly and other healthcare issues, said Providers’ Council President and CEO Michael Weekes. [Read more]
The rally is being organized by the Caring Force, a lobbying group for social service workers organized by the Providers’ Council, a statewide umbrella group of human services organizations. The human services organizations contract with the state to provide assistance to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, homeless people and those in the child welfare system. Michael Weekes, president and CEO of the Providers’ Council, who lives in Longmeadow, said it is important for Western Massachusetts to have a viable human services sector. Many human service workers earn $10 or $11 an hour. [Read more]
Human services employment in Massachusetts has experienced significant growth since 2003 (47.9%), outpacing expected growth of 37.5% overall between 2004 and 2014, according to a study commissioned by the Providers' Council, a statewide association of health and human service agencies. [Read more]
According to Michael Weekes, president and CEO of the Massachusetts Council of Human Services Providers, who gave a presentation about the measure, known as Chapter 257, there has been no adjustment to the rates for service providers in 25 years, which has caused the industry's workers to bear the brunt of its recent struggles to stay afloat financially. "Let's be honest - it's been on the backs of our workers, who have made personal sacrifices to ensure we have a human services sector that's working," he said. [Read more]
About one in every five human service workers with a family of three earns $40,000 a year or less, the report said. That compares to the state’s median family income of about $84,000, according to the Census. Many human services workers make ends meet by working multiple jobs, said Michael Weekes, chief executive of the Providers’ Council. “That concerns us,” Weekes said. “This gives us a sense that perhaps the jobs that are out there are not paying the kind of wages that people need to live.” [Read more]
Baker was known, however, as a tough gatekeeper when it came to spending on social services. “Charlie wanted to know, ‘How is that money going to be used to move the needle?’ ” said Michael D. Weekes, a former deputy commissioner at the department. “What are we trying to get to here? How is that going to help? If we were able to make the case effectively, you were able to gain support from Charlie.” [Read more]
AS A former deputy commissioner of the Department of Social Services — now known as the Department of Children and Families — I have a well-founded understanding of the pressing challenges DCF faces in strengthening families and protecting our state’s children. The calls for DCF Commissioner Olga Roche to resign or be fired are shortsighted and may only seek to mask real problems, such as the persistent underfunding of our state’s system of community-based care. Adjusted for inflation, the DCF budget has been cut by nearly $130 million since 2009. While money alone is not the solution, we cannot expect optimal results for this agency — or any other — if it doesn’t have the staff and provider resources. The state must give DCF the resources it needs to succeed. Roche has the expertise and leadership to effectively manage DCF and ensure the department provides the high-quality services that our state’s children deserve.
The writer is president of the Providers Council.
Michael Weekes, president and CEO of the Massachusetts Council of Human Service Providers, which is the state’s largest human service trade association, said that the most significant budget item for human services is an over $150 million increase in funding for the Community Residential Services for the Developmentally Disabled. This increase would increase the annual budget from $847 million to over $1 billion. “There is no doubt that the biggest highlight is the additional investment the government made in the individuals with developmental disabilities,” Weekes said. “That is the largest additional investment to that community in nearly 30 years.” [Read more]
Michael Weekes, president and CEO of Providers’ Council, the state’s largest human services membership association and the state affiliate of the National Council of Nonprofits, said clear and stringent federal and state guidelines and regulations already exist regarding executive pay that ensure transparency and help to advance the public’s interest. “Quite frankly, the greatest challenge for those of us working in the human service sector, the largest segment of nonprofits, is advocating for government policies and contracts that help raise the compensation of our lowest-paid workers,” he said. [Read more]
December 13, 2013 - Providers' Council, Children League place Letter to the Editor in the Boston Herald (Boston Herald)
The Commonwealth should champion the zero tolerance policy established by the Department of Children and Families (DCF) regarding abuse and neglect of children in the foster care system. The statistics cited (“Report: Neglect and abuse of 249 children in state custody,” Dec. 3), did not underscore the intense training and scrutiny that foster parents undergo in order to open their homes to vulnerable children.
After hours of training, background checks, fingerprints, and home visits, foster-parents receive a minimum of bi-monthly, and many times weekly, visits from social workers. Foster-parents devote themselves to children, ensuring they have every opportunity to live ‘normal’ lives; it is not ‘a business or cottage industry’ for them.
Any substantiated report of abuse or neglect is one too many. We must fully fund the DCF system that cares for our most vulnerable children in order to continue the steady reduction in the number of substantiated reports. Our foster-parents are doing incredible work opening their hearts and homes, providing quality care, and this strengthens the child welfare system. Without foster-parents and residential providers the DCF system would fail.
- Erin G. Bradley, Executive Director, Children’s League of Massachusetts and Michael D. Weekes, President/CEO, Providers’ Council
A leader in human services cautioned that the cut could cause a drop in state revenues that might affect services for the needy in the state budget.
“Any significant drop in state revenues could not only harm the one-in-ten vulnerable residents receiving supports, but it will likely affect the low-paid direct care workers who provide essential services," Michael Weekes, president and CEO of the Providers Council, said in a prepared statement. "Currently, thousands of human services workers – including many in Western Massachusetts – were expecting a small salary adjustment before the holidays, but, inexplicably, they’re now waiting indefinitely while the state has reported a large revenue surplus."
Legislators and the governor approved $11.5 million one-time payment, contingent on a budget surplus, for small raises for workers of private, nonprofit agencies that contract with the state for care of the mentally ill, the developmentally disabled and other human services. The state, however, has not distributed the money or announced a schedule for distribution, a spokesman for the Providers Council said. [Read more]
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Tim Potter was classified as legally blind in 2003 because of retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease.
He lost his job and his hobbies. He spoke with United Cerebal Palsy and they helped fit him with adaptive equipment, mobility cane, books on tape. Then they set him up with an internship to get his foot in the door to go back to work.
He has just finished computer training on a specialized laptop UCP had gotten for him and he feels he is ready to rejoin the work force. ...
Those are three of a dozen stories the Berkshire's representation on Beacon Hill heard on Friday morning. The annual breakfast, organized by the county's human service agencies, is a way for the organizations to tell the delegation what they want, need and where state money is going.
"Putting out a budget is not a math exercise. It's people's lives," said Michael Weekes, of the Caring Force, a statewide group advocating for human services. [Read more]
BOSTON - More than 500 human service workers held a rally at the Statehouse Tuesday to push increased funding for programs to help the disabled and a 2 percent salary increase for their caretakers.
The workers and supporters, all wearing gold Caring Force shirts, heard a pledge from Senate President Therese Murray to support Gov. Deval Patrick's budget plan to add $140 million more in state aid. [Read more]
With the Legislature focused on passing a $500 million tax bill to boost investments in transportation, hundreds of human services workers visited the Statehouse Tuesday to demand funding for salary increases and increased rates for vendors... [Read more]
Michael Weekes, president and CEO of the Providers' Council: "We are really going to miss the mayor. Among the issues he's worked on is helping to promote summer jobs for youth and making sure that nonprofits have funding to help support that. That's a really big and important role. He's been very strong on homelessness, making it clear that we have a responsibility to care for those who are among us who don't have homes. He does that with other services too - like making the city more accessible to people with disabilities. There are a wide variety of issues that heâs been a leader on. ... People I've talked to are disappointed that the mayor is not going to run, but they know he's been a great friend." [See image]
The hikes come at a time when state revenues are not meeting expectations and there are whispers of possible mid-year budget cuts and tax hikes. Revelation of the hikes also coincided with the protests of a group of human service workers who were outside Patrick's office demanding the release $20 million in pay raises for some 29,000 human service workers. According to the Massachusetts Council of Human Service Providers, these workers make an average of $12 an hour and haven't received a pay raise in five years.
The Council says the funds would increase salaries by about 2 percent -- an approximate increase for workers of about $13 per week or 33 cents per hour. "These low-paid workers serving people with disabilities, our elderly residents, veterans and homeless individuals feel the Patrick-Murray administration's action to indefinitely delay this promised 2 percent increase is heartless and lacks an appreciation for this workforce's daily sacrifices on behalf of all of us," said Council President Michael Weekes.
A $20 million salary reserve to provide raises to human service workers is not being reduced, Gonzalez said. "It is available to disburse to human service workers," he said.
The Haverhill Democrat said Patrick could look to spending items that could be delayed for now, including public safety grants and a $25 million salary reserve for human service workers that Patrick has already frozen, causing workers to protest outside his office daily.
"There's never a great place to cut. I would prefer to see perhaps it spread out in way we've done in the past and look at those areas of spending that perhaps we could hold off on. The least disruptive is obviously preferable," Dempsey said.
Dempsey said that despite being "a very popular line item" the salary reserve "may be one we'll have to hold off on."
Members of the Caring Force, a grass-roots human services advocacy movement, are demonstrating to encourage Governor Patrick to release a 2 percent salary increase for direct-care workers that was indefinitely delayed by the Patrick-Murray administration. For several months, these workers were promised that this modest increase would arrive before the holidays. More than 29,000 workers, who work in our community to serve people with disabilities, children at risk, our vulnerable elderly, veterans, and others, have not received an annualized salary increase in five years.
"...I hear that Governor Patrick has made the decision to "delay" the implementation of the Salary Reserve indefinitely ... it is not right!"
Expected continued high unemployment, compounded by calls to reduce taxes, means state funds on which human services agencies depend will likely be reduced in the current and next fiscal years, leaders of those nonprofits were told yesterday.
Referring to the state government’s current fiscal year, Marilyn Anderson Chase, assistant secretary of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services, told more than 1,000 nonprofit leaders and managers at the annual convention of the Providers’ Council, a statewide association of health and human service agencies, “Revenue has slowed down, and we haven’t identified cuts yet.”
Human services workers already began demonstrating at the Statehouse after Patrick's office indefinitely delayed 2 percent raises that the state promised the contract workers in the fiscal 2013 budget. "Let's be frank: It's on average about 13 (dollars) a week" raise for many workers, said Michael Weekes, president of Providers' Council, a statewide association of health and human service agencies. "It was for many of them a sign of respect, a sign of appreciation."
Nowhere is that truer than on Beacon Hill, where Bob DeLeo, Therese Murray and Deval Patrick just handed out pay hikes to State House staffers, even while still insisting there’s no extra money in the till for those who labor in the noble field of human services.
The legislature voted to give a total of $20 million in pay raises to human service providers who work a lot with disabled people, seniors and veterans. But because of lower tax revenues, the governor took some precautionary measures. This put a hold on salary increases for more than 29,000 people in the commonwealth. "The raise was for anyone who made under $40,000. All human service workers that fall under the EOHHS, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services. They're the ones that we're talking about," said Ken Singer, executive director of Berkshire County Arc.
The workers earn $25,000 a year, on average, and have gone without an increase since 2008. “There’s no sense of a shared sacrifice here,” said Michael D. Weekes, president and chief executive of the Providers’ Council, which advocates for the workers. “Why are the lowest-paid people taking it on the chin?”
But advocates say 29,000 human service workers across the state haven’t received the salary increase they were promised in time for the holidays. With $1 billion in the state’s rainy day fund, they say a modest salary increase shouldn’t have to be delayed. “We think this small amount of money, which is late to providing them with 2 percent, is a reasonable investment to some of the hardest working people in the Commonwealth,” said Providers’ Council President and CEO Michael Weekes.
Michael D. Weekes of Longmeadow, president and CEO of the Massachusetts Council of Human Service Providers, said the Patrick administration is indefinitely delaying release of $20 million in this year's state budget to provide about 2 percent salary increases for 29,000 workers of private, nonprofit agencies that contract with the state for care of the mentally ill, the developmentally disabled and other human services. When he signed the $32.5 billion state budget in July, Patrick vetoed $10 million of the money. State legislators voted to override the veto. Weekes said the raises were to be released on Dec. 21 but have been held up by the administration amid a shortfall in state tax collections.
The Massachusetts House of Representatives has overridden Gov. Deval Patrick’s veto of a Human Services Salary Reserve budget proposal.
House lawmakers voted unanimously in favor of the override Tuesday afternoon. Now the measure heads to the Senate for consideration. [Read more]
The House on Tuesday plans to take a vote to fully restore a $20 million salary reserve for human service providers that Gov. Deval Patrick cut in half with a veto when he signed the fiscal 2013 budget. Human service providers pressing for an override say low-paid workers have gone five years without a raise.
Providers’ Council President & CEO Michael Weekes called the governor’s veto “devastating” and said an override would “help low-paid staff, and strengthen the human services sector.” [Read more]
While many nonprofit leaders and social entrepreneurs applaud Massachusetts’ efforts, social financing raises concern among its skeptics. “It is good to have a financial incentive, but our industry works on another bottom line,” said Michael Weekes, CEO of the Providers’ Council, which represents social service organizations. “Our efforts are geared toward making people better and safe. Those don’t always appear on the bottom line of a balance sheet.” [Read more]
The human services salary reserve item, approved by the Legislature, had established the amount as a pay raise; the governor's adjustment changes the item to a one-time bonus. State Rep. David Linsky, D-Natick, is leading an effort to override Patrick's veto in the House of Representatives. The cut affects 31,500 direct care workers in Massachusetts, all of whom earn under $40,000 a year, according to Bill Yelenak, spokesman for the Providers' Council. [Read more]
State human service workers are upset this week following one of Governor Deval Patrick’s vetoes. Many agencies were expecting to get a slight increase for employee salaries in order to gain and keep good workers. Many in the health and human services industry are upset with this news. On Sunday, Governor Patrick vetoed $10 million in salary increases for workers in the field. [Read more]
But Mr. Brewer said he expects lawmakers to consider taking up votes to overturn the Taunton State Hospital veto and a $10 million cut from a $20 million appropriation for pay increases for as many as 35,000 human service workers.
The Legislature had approved the higher figure to provide an annual pay increase to those workers for the first time in four years. The governor's cut, if it stands, would only allow a one-time payment instead of an annual pay increase that would amount to about 15 cents per hour, according to the Providers Council, which advocates for mental health services.
Mr. Brewer said the human services workers are among the lowest paid employees providing direct care for needy people and he would like to see the pay increases go through. “I think we have the resources to pay them,” Mr. Brewer said. [Read more]
Patrick made a few small vetoes that will be handled, probably without much fanfare, in the next week or so. While Southeastern Mass. lawmakers are most upset over Patrick’s push to close Taunton State Hospital, the most regrettable in our view is his reduction, by half, of a one-time “salary reserve” payment to the state’s lowest-paid human services workers. These workers, largely non-union employees of nonprofits that contract with the state, haven’t had a real raise in five years. After Patrick’s cut, they will get a bonus worth less than a dollar a day. That’s one veto the Legislature should override. [Read more]
But then sometimes, you see choices being made that seem just plain absurd. Like Governor Patrick’s decision to use one of his rare vetoes on $10 million that was set aside for salary increases for people who do some of the dirtiest, most desperately-needed jobs for some of state government’s lowest wages. [Read more]