Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP Partner Awarded Favorable Decision in Arbitrability
Attorney Michael Maccaro, a Partner at Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP, represented the City of Methuen on an arbitrability issue, and was awarded a favorable decision on June 23, 2021. The issue, brought forth by the opposing party, pertained to the grievance concerning the layoff of three permanent intermittent officers. On July 8, 2020, the three grievants, all hired by the City pursuant to Ch. 201 of the Acts of 1945, were informed by written notice that the City would be laying them off effective July 31, 2020. A grievance was later filed by the Union on August 3, 2020. The Arbitrator assigned to the case directed the parties to file briefs on arbitrability for his review.
The Union made several arguments against the City in an effort to prove the grievance is substantively arbitrable. Among those arguments they emphasized that the City voted to rescind the provisions of Ch. 201 in February 2021. However, since that occurred after the separation of employment and has yet to be finalized, Ch. 201 remains in force and effect. Additionally, the Union argues that the grievants should fall under the purview of the collecting bargaining unit, but permanent intermittent officers are not referenced in said bargaining unit; therefore, they fall under the purview of Ch. 201 of the Acts of 1945, which states “Any ember of said permanent intermittent police force may be removed by the selectmen at any time for any reason satisfactory to them…” This statement still applies to the City because although they are governed by a city council instead of a board of selectmen, they converted governance from a town to a city and Ch. 201 has the ability to pass to the new form of government. After reviewing both parties’ briefs, the Arbitrator found the Union’s arguments to be without merit, and awarded the following: “The grievance concerning the separation from employment of three permanent intermittent police officers from the City of Methuen is not substantively arbitrable.”
Michael Maccaro’s practice is focused on the areas of labor and employment in the public and private sector, litigation, and employee benefits. Prior to joining Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP, Mr. Maccaro served as Associate General Counsel for a large public sector labor union. He has litigated numerous matters, negotiated hundreds of contracts and has argued before various state courts, appellate courts, and administrative agencies throughout New England. Mr. Maccaro has served as an Adjunct Professor at the Massachusetts School of Law where he has taught legal writing and appellate advocacy. He is the 2019 recipient of the Cushing-Gavin Award for excellence in providing management labor relations legal counsel. Attorney Maccaro is also involved with training new lawyers on arbitration best practices. He graduated from Bates College in 1996 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Chemistry and received his Juris Doctor in 2004 from Northeastern University School of Law.
Attorney Felicia Vasudevan, a partner at Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP, received a favorable decision on behalf of her client, Marshfield Public Schools. The Plaintiff appealed the district court’s judgement that upheld a decision of the Massachusetts Bureau of Special Education Appeals (“BSEA”). However, as the notice was filed more than 30 days after entry, the First Circuit ultimately dismissed the appeal for being untimely. The Plaintiff also appealed the district court’s order, denying her motion to vacate. Read More
Following our Alert from March 16, 2023, Civility is Dead – The Supreme Court Rules Municipal Control of Public Speak Limited to Reasonable Time/Place/Manner Restrictions, which discussed the holding to the Supreme Judicial Court’s decision in Barron v. Kolenda and the Town of Southborough (SJC-13284), we promised to bring you more detailed guidance on developing a Public Speak policy for your public body or municipality. The Barron case involved a constitutional challenge to the Town of Southborough’s public comment policy, which attempted to impose a code of civility on members of the public who participated in public comment before public bodies. In Barron, the court interpreted the state constitution to mean that public bodies may request, but not require, that public commentators be respectful and courteous. Instead, a public body may set restrictions on reasonable time, place, and manner comments to ensure that the meeting retains an orderly and peaceable manner.