As governor of Massachusetts, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney “fiercely protected” a costly bonus program for police officers after an influential police union endorsed him, according to the Boston Globe
Noting Romney’s recent accusations that GOP rival Rick Santorum and President Barack Obama have been too cozy with labor, the Globe reported during the weekend that Romney fully funded a $45 million police salary bonus program after receiving an endorsement from the union.
“Even as he pushed to slash aid to cities and towns and programs for the blind and raised college tuition, he fully funded a $45 million program that awarded salary bonuses to officers who earned advanced degrees,” the newspaper reported.
Known as the Quinn bill, the program drew fire at the time from taxpayer groups, and at least one study referred to it as a “cash cow” for police. But during his 2002 gubernatorial campaign, the Globe said Romney sought the endorsement of the Boston Police Superior Officers Federation.
“There was a firm understanding that the quid pro quo would be his agreeing to allow our Quinn bill benefits to remain intact,’’ Thomas Nolan, a retired lieutenant who was then vice president of the federation, told the Globe. “We felt assured that, once he was elected, our benefits would be intact for four years. And guess what. We got what we wanted.’’
The Globe reported that the Romney presidential campaign declined to answer specific questions about the Quinn bill. But in an email to the newspaper, campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul did say that, as governor, Romney stood up to labor groups by stopping the use of state resources to fund public employee union activities and exempting some public construction projects from prevailing wage law.
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