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November 27, 2003



Recognizing the sacrifice employees of the Commonwealth and their families have made to serve our nation since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Governor Mitt Romney today signed into law a measure to help those individuals meet their financial obligations while they are on active military duty.


"I support our troops overseas and recognize that families across Massachusetts are making sacrifices by having their loved ones away defending our nation,” Romney said. “We don’t want them to also worry about paying their bills. This will help ease that burden for state employees."


Romney said the new law, effective immediately, will provide state employees who have been called to active military leave since September 11, 2001 with the differential cost between their military and state salaries. In addition, state employees on active military duty will not lose any seniority, accrued vacation leave, sick leave, personal leave, compensation time or earned overtime.


There are 260 state employees who have been called away on military leave since September 11, 2001 and are eligible for payment under this bill, Romney said.


He noted that the average annual salary for enlisted military is $35,381 and the average annual state salary for the 260 individuals is $46,017, leaving a gap of more than $10,000.


"I know many soldiers and state employees with whom I served in Kuwait who took drastic pay cuts to serve and protect our country," said Joel Berner, an attorney with the Department of Correction as well as a Lieutenant Colonel and JAG Officer in the United States Army Reserve."It is remarkable to recognize these soldiers, but just as remarkable to acknowledge the sacrifices of their families who often struggle to make ends meet as a result of an associated pay cut."


The Massachusetts Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) applauded Romney for spearheading this law to benefit state and municipal workers mobilized for the war on terrorism.


"The signing of this bill shows the great commitment of the Commonwealth to our soldiers and their families," said David Mahn, State Chair of ESGR.



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