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Compensation Deal Reached For Sandy Hook First Responders

by Christine Stuart | Dec 4, 2013 6:26pm
(2) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Health Care, Labor, State Capitol, Newtown

First responders and state employees impacted by trauma during the response to the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School will receive 40 hours of compensatory time under a deal reached by the state and six state employee unions.

The comp time benefit is intended to recognize the extraordinary nature of the tragedy and that many of these individuals took sick and vacation time to deal with personal matters related to the incident.

The money for the benefits will come from a privately-funded foundation set up by the legislature earlier this year.

The creation of the fund was necessary because mental health impairment is not covered as a standalone issue under workers’ compensation.

It’s unknown at the moment how many employees will receive the benefit, but the 40 hours must be used by the qualifying employee within a year. It will be up to the respective state agencies to offer up the names of the employees involved in the response by Dec. 31. If an employee from one of the six unions feels they should have been included they can attempt to get their name on a list, but the final decision would be made by the Office of Labor Relations. The benefits also will be extended to similarly impacted, non-represented employees.

“The men and women directly involved in the response to this horrible tragedy in many cases needed time to recover from the severe nature of what they experienced through simply doing their jobs,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said in a statement. “This is only one step, but it is important that we recognize the professionals who are there during unimaginable moments of difficulty, and that we continue to support them.”

The announcement of the benefits from Malloy’s office included statements from the heads of all six labor unions and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman.

Sgt. Andrew Matthews, president of the Connecticut State Police Union, thanked Malloy for his work following the tragedy.

“There is no question that everyone’s life changed that day and every state employee who witnessed the tragedy firsthand was in need of the Malloy administration’s support to cope with the consequences of the horrific scene that may never be erased from their minds,” Matthews said. “State troopers, both on and off-duty, ran towards the face of evil and witnessed one of the most violent events our country has ever seen. As a result, some continue to suffer from the effects.”

The General Assembly will have an opportunity to vote on the deal when it returns in February. If it does nothing, the plan will go into effect within 30 days.

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(2) Comments

posted by: ASTANVET | December 5, 2013  1:04pm

This is such garbage… everyone who joins a police force, or first responder unit knows that there may be a mass casualty situation… must be nice to get extra compensation for doing your job. I guess everyone is owed something when a tragedy happens.

posted by: LongJohn47 | December 5, 2013  7:25pm

Astanvet—“knowing” that you might have to face a mass casualty situation and actually experiencing it are two different things. 

I’m sure all the first responders in Newtown came to the scene somewhat hardened by all the death and destruction they had seen on the job, but none of them had ever experienced a truly horrific situation like Sandy Hook.

Their professionalism that day was heroic, and their call to duty well above what’s expected.  I certainly don’t begrudge them extra compensation as recognition of their service.