The Chief
May 11, 2007

PBA Head Rips Into Rudy's Hero Image

'Broke Pledge to Cops'

By RICHARD STEIER

Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick J. Lynch, who has feuded bitterly with Mayor Bloomberg over cops' pay, declared May 3 that Rudy Giuliani "does not deserve to be President" because of his treatment of Police Officers at the bargaining table.

PATRICK J. LYNCH: Giuliani 'used cops.'  
PATRICK J. LYNCH: Giuliani 'used cops.'  

Speaking evenly but not mincing words, the PBA leader accused the former Mayor of breaking his promise to cops that he would pay them better once the city's finances improved, and of basking in undeserved glory for their efforts in reducing crime.

At Odds With Perception

Mr. Lynch's comments, made during an interview with New York 1 "Inside City Hall" host Dominic Carter, were the first he had made publicly about Mr. Giuliani's campaign for the Republican nomination for President. Along with critical comments that have been made by Uniformed Firefighters' Association President Steve Cassidy in the past, they could loom portentously over Mr. Giuliani's candidacy, which draws much of its strength from the national perception of him on 9/11 and in its aftermath. Two relatively conservative union leaders who lost hundreds of members during the rescue efforts are contending that "America's Mayor" was less admirable than he seemed.

NOT A HERO TO HIS UNIONS: Although his image as a hero of 9/11 launched a campaign for President that has Rudy Giuliani leading the polls among Republicans, the conservative-leaning leaders of the city's largest police and fire unions are harshly critical of his tenure on matters ranging from pay raises to what they believe is undue credit he has gotten for their members' work.
NOT A HERO TO HIS UNIONS: Although his image as a hero of 9/11 launched a campaign for President that has Rudy Giuliani leading the polls among Republicans, the conservative-leaning leaders of the city's largest police and fire unions are harshly critical of his tenure on matters ranging from pay raises to what they believe is undue credit he has gotten for their members' work.

Mr. Giuliani's campaign did not respond to a request for comment on Mr. Lynch's remarks, which coincidentally were made shortly before the first Republican presidential debate.

Mr. Carter had been interviewing the PBA leader about his ongoing contract battle with City Hall, and asked him whether he believed Mr. Bloomberg was a good Mayor and would make a good President if he decided to run.

'NYPD Starts to Crumble'

Mr. Lynch demurred, saying, "I think his legacy may be that the New York City Police Department is crumbling around him," referring to problems recruiting new officers and retaining incumbent cops, which he contended had already led crime to begin creeping upward. Referring to the low salaries which he said were at the root of the personnel difficulties, Mr. Lynch said, "After we fix this problem, I'll give you a determination as to whether he's good or bad."

When Mr. Carter asked a short time later about Mr. Giuliani's aspirations, Mr. Lynch was even harsher in his assessment.

"Rudy Giuliani insisted on giving 3 1/2 years of zeros in five years to Police Officers," he said. "He does not deserve to be President."

He was referring to the early part of the former Mayor's tenure. Although he gained office in 1993 with the help of the PBA, Mr. Giuliani opted to continue a pay pattern that had been set by his predecessor, David Dinkins, in contracts with civilian-employee unions and the Uniformed Fire Officers' Association. That pattern began with an 18-month wage freeze, followed by raises of 2, 2 and 3 percent.

'Work Now, Pay Later'

When Mr. Giuliani settled his first contract with the PBA in July 1994, there were sufficient hard feelings that its then-President, Phil Caruso, did not attend the Gracie Mansion press conference announcing the deal. In lieu of a pay hike at its beginning, the deal gave officers a $4,000 "signing bonus," but this was just a cash payment that was not incorporated into their salaries. The Mayor told reporters, "Obviously I'd like to be in a position where I could compensate people better. But I'm not."

As Mr. Lynch described it to Mr. Carter, Mr. Giuliani delivered a similar message in meetings with groups of cops, saying, "Work now for me, and I'll pay you later."

But by the time that PBA deal expired, Mr. Giuliani had reached new contracts with District Council 37 and the United Federation of Teachers that began with two-year wage freezes, and he insisted on that concession from the PBA as well, even after the city's finances dramatically improved. Lou Matarazzo, who had succeeded Mr. Caruso as PBA president, balked at the offer and the dispute wound up in arbitration. But the arbitrators cited the freeze accepted by other groups and imposed it on the PBA, although the union did somewhat better than civilian-employee unions in the final three years of its five-year contract.

Made Pay Gap a Chasm

Earlier in the interview, Mr. Lynch told Mr. Carter that those pay freezes were what triggered the sizable gap between NYPD officers' salaries and those paid to cops in neighboring departments. When he came on the job in 1984, he remarked, "State Troopers were below us, Westchester was below us, we were about $5,000 below Nassau and Suffolk."

Now, even if the PBA reaches a deal to replace the one that expired 33 months ago, the likelihood is that maximum salary for its members will be $25,000 or more below what senior officers make in the Long Island departments.

"He broke a pledge with New York City Police Officers," Mr. Lynch said of Mr. Giuliani. "This city was brought back from its knees, financially and otherwise, because Police Officers made it safe."

When Mr. Carter pointed out that the rest of the country perceived Mr. Giuliani as "America's Mayor" because of his cool behavior in the aftermath of the World Trade Center's destruction, Mr. Lynch stated, "Rudy Giuliani used every New York City Police Officer before 9/11, and then after 9/11."