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City of Boston v. Boston Police Superior Officers Federation (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-155-13)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA 02108-1750;  (617) 557-1030; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us       SJC‑11238   CITY OF BOSTON  vs.  BOSTON POLICE SUPERIOR OFFICERS FEDERATION.     Suffolk.     April 2, 2013.  ‑  August 9, 2013. Present:  Ireland, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Gants, Duffly, & Lenk, JJ.     Boston.  Police, Assignment of duties, Collective bargaining.  Public Employment, Police, Transfer, Collective bargaining.  Municipal Corporations, Police, Collective bargaining.  Labor, Police, Collective bargaining.  Civil Service, Police, Collective bargaining.  Arbitration, Collective bargaining, Confirmation of award, Authority of arbitrator.  Contract, Collective bargaining contract.       Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on August 18, 2009.   The case was heard by Bonnie H. MacLeod, J.   The Supreme Judicial Court on its own initiative transferred the case from the Appeals Court.     David M. Connelly (Robert J. Boyle, Jr., with him) for the plaintiff. Alfred Gordon for the defendant.     DUFFLY, J.  After the city of Boston (city) transferred a Boston police sergeant who served as a union representative, the Boston Police Superior Officers Federation (union) sought to enforce a provision of its collective bargaining agreement with the city, prohibiting the involuntary transfer of certain union representatives between stations or assignments.  Following binding arbitration mandated under the collective bargaining agreement, an arbitrator found that the city had violated the collective bargaining agreement and awarded the officer damages and reinstatement to his original position.  The city filed a motion in the Superior Court, pursuant to G. L. c. 150C, § 11, to vacate the award.  A Superior Court judge denied the city’s motion and allowed the union’s cross motion to confirm the award.  The city appealed, and we transferred the case to this Court on our own motion. The city argues, and we agree, that assignment and transfer of officers within the Boston police department (department) are nondelegable statutory powers of the Boston police commissioner (commissioner), see St. 1906, c. 291, § 10, as appearing in St. 1962, c. 322, § 1, and, accordingly, that the grievance arbitrator exceeded his authority in reversing the officer’s transfer.   Background and prior proceedings.  In 1989, the city and the union underwent interest arbitration[1] as part of a collective bargaining process.  The city had proposed a provision that would have prohibited the involuntary transfer of union representatives, but the parties were unable to reach agreement on how many officers would be covered by that provision.  The proposal followed several years of […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - August 9, 2013 at 4:01 pm

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