Auditor Bump Declares New Suffolk County Holiday Law an Unfunded Mandate for Municipalities
Opinion gives Revere right to fight law in court
(Boston-May 25, 2011)-Acting on a formal request from Revere, State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump today announced that a change in the state law that requires all Suffolk County public offices to be open and staffed on Evacuation Day and Bunker Hill Day is an unfunded state mandate for communities in Suffolk County. The Auditor’s Division of Local Mandates (DLM) noted that the new law forced Revere to pay 34 workers at a time-and- a-half rate to staff all city departments during the Evacuation Day holiday on March 17.
In its analysis of the fiscal impact on Revere, DLM found that holiday staffing for the library, water, elder affairs, veterans’ affairs, purchasing, legal, clerk’s, treasurer’s, assessor’s and collector’s departments will cost more than $40,000 over the next three years.
The Auditor’s opinion does not relieve Revere from complying with the new law. But like any community aggrieved by state mandated costs, Revere may seek an exemption in Superior Court or petition lawmakers to either fund the law or repeal it.
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.