The Chief
December 24, 2004

Editorial

The Mayor’s Scare Tactics

Mayor Bloomberg is fond of saying that he doesn’t negotiate in the press. His radio show is another matter, apparently.

That particular medium has given Mr. Bloomberg a forum for taking union leaders to task, and most recently, during his Dec. 17 broadcast on WABC radio, for warning that police layoffs might be needed if arbitrators are too generous in deciding on an award for the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association.

PBA President Pat Lynch accused the Mayor of using “scare tactics to influence the arbitration panel.”

Frankly, we’re not certain the Mayor’s remarks will have any influence on the arbitrators. He seems to have forgotten that ability to pay is one of the primary criteria arbitrators must consider in making a contract award. Maybe he’s figuring he can pre-empt any campaign criticism for reductions in the police force – which in any event are certain to occur by attrition rather than by layoff – by making the case early on that arbitrators left him with no choice when they decided that the DC 37 pattern was not binding on cops.

In the process, however, he may be needlessly alarming newer Police Officers who would be the most vulnerable to layoffs if they were needed.

The Mayor should heed his own oft-stated advice about leaving contract talk to the professionals.