Chapter 41 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 108P the following section:-
108Q. (a) For the purposes of this section the following words shall, unless the context requires otherwise, have the following meaning:
“Gateway municipality”, a municipality with a population greater than 35,000 and less than 250,000 with a median household income below the commonwealth's average and a rate of educational attainment of a bachelor's degree or above that is below the commonwealth's average.
“Public safety department”, a functional division of a gateway municipality that provides fire fighting, law enforcement, ambulance, medical or other emergency services.
“Secretary”, the secretary of public safety.
(b) There is hereby established a public safety employee retention program offering grants for improvements to public safety departments in gateway municipalities that offer retention incentives to their employees.
(c) A public safety department in a gateway municipality shall be eligible for a grant pursuant to this section if it offers any of the following incentives to its employees:
(1) competitive wages;
(2) regular cost-of-living adjustments to wages;
(3) retention bonuses;
(4) lateral hiring incentives;
(5) optional training in addition to trainings required by law; and
(6) any other retention incentive approved by the secretary.
(d) The amount of any grant awarded pursuant to this section shall be proportional to the number of qualifying retention incentives listed in subsection (c).
(e) Grant monies awarded to public safety departments in gateway municipalities pursuant to this section may be used for:
(1) the employment of additional public safety department employees; or
(2) any other purpose approved by the secretary.
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