Plymouth County doesn’t want to pay it—mostly it hasn’t. The County Retirement Board thinks the arrears payments should not be deducted from money the state owes them. And they are in fact suing the state and the county to get it back. The state calls the payment Maintenance of Effort. So, what is it?
Maintenance of Effort, or MOE, is the amount of money every county has been required to pay Sheriff’s departments for the upkeep and operation of that county’s jails and houses of correction. Every county, except Plymouth, has routinely paid this money to their Sheriff’s offices out of their annual operating budgets, according to Sheriff Joseph McDonald:
“Now going back here in Plymouth County to ’06 or ’07, the county budget was actually rejected by the state and the reason is that we had noticed, that not only was Plymouth County not paying Maintenance of Effort like every other county, but they had never paid it.”
When the state rejected the county budget, they were forced to make some MOE payments, but not for long. Former County Advisory Board Chairman Dan Pallotta:
“When I was Chairman of the Advisory Board, we put a stop to it and stopped paying it because we don’t owe it.”
But, why should the county be liable for the MOE now, since the Sheriff’s department was transferred from County to state control two years ago? Sheriff McDonald:
“The county still utilizes and does have a responsibility to maintain and upkeep this particular facility. We’re a state agency but the county jurisdiction still remain, every other county is still paying the maintenance of effort to the Commonwealth; why is Plymouth County not living up to its responsibility?”