Chief-Leader
June 8, 2015 5:30 pm

 

Lynch Takes 70% of Vote To Win 5th Term at PBA

Claims It's a Mandate

By MARK TOOR

    
PATRICK LYNCH: Gratified by members’ support.  

Patrick J. Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association since 1999, was re-elected to a fifth term last week with 70 percent of the vote. It was the first time since 2003 that he faced an election challenge.

The vote was counted June 5 by the American Arbitration Association. Mr. Lynch’s opponents were Brooklyn South Trustee Brian Fusco and Bus Unit Delegate Ronald Wilson.

‘Best Interest of Members’

“We are extremely gratified that our members have recognized the hard work and successes that Team Lynch has achieved on their behalf,” Mr. Lynch said in a statement after the vote. “A single tenet has and will continue to guide us as we look to the future: do what’s in the best interest of our members. These results give our team a mandate to continue that work.

“Serving as a New York City police officer is a noble profession, and we are honored and privileged to represent these courageous men and women.”

The PBA said Mr. Lynch “is now the longest-serving PBA president in modern times.”

Mr. Fusco issued a statement saying, “This was a hard-fought race in which the members of the PBA were able to hear our positions on the critical issues facing police officers. The members have spoken, and we respect their decision. We thank our supporters for their dedication throughout this campaign and we fully support the PBA as it continues its fight for its members’ rights.

“We also would like to congratulate Betty Carradero of the Strengthen The Shield slate, who was elected as Bronx Trustee, the first female board member in the history of the PBA.”

Mr. Wilson said in a telephone interview, “The PBA membership voted for the leadership that they wanted. Pat Lynch is the president. We all have to get behind him and push this union to the next level.”

Mr. Fusco and Mr. Wilson attacked Mr. Lynch for his failure to reach a contract five years after the previous one expired. Michael Bloomberg, who served as Mayor through the end of 2013, cited the bad economy and refused to negotiate. No city union settled a contract during his third term.

Pattern Not Enough

Though the organizations representing police supervisors and Detectives have settled, Mr. Lynch has refused to accept the city pattern for uniformed unions of 11 percent over seven years offered by Mayor de Blasio. The union is now in arbitration, with a decision expected in the next few months.

His opponents also criticized Mr. Lynch for not ending an inequality in disability pensions for officers hired after 2010. The problem stems from then-Gov. David Paterson’s decision in 2009 to veto a bill, passed repeatedly for decades, that would have provided three-quarters pay free of state and local taxes for officers disabled on the job.

With the veto, new officers were eligible only for half-pay, taxed, with half of any Social Security disability benefits subtracted—which could leave some with as little as $27 per day. No officer hired since 2010 has gone out on disability at this point.

The PBA and other police unions have lobbied the City Council and the State Legislature to restore the benefit. But Mr. de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito have opposed such a restoration, citing cost issues.

Mr. de Blasio has proposed a compromise plan that would drop the Social Security offset and use a higher salary to calculate benefits. Mr. Lynch and other union leaders have opposed this, saying that benefits for all officers need to be equal.

Out of Touch?

Mr. Fusco and Mr. Wilson also said Mr. Lynch had become out of touch with the members. Mr. Fusco said he had stopped holding board meetings, an assertion that Mr. Lynch’s spokesman vigorously denied.

Mr. Fusco, whose slate included two (formerly three) officers who face charges in the Bronx ticket-fixing scandal, also said Mr. Lynch had not done enough to defend the officers caught up in the dispute.

His two foes questioned the war of words between Mr. Lynch and Mr. de Blasio in December over the Mayor’s reaction to a grand jury’s refusal to indict an officer in the death of Eric Garner and the subsequent ambush murder of two officers in Brooklyn. Mr. Lynch responded that his statements “were criticized by many editorials. Not by our members. I was speaking exactly what they thought was true.”

In a recent interview with THE CHIEF-LEADER, Mr. Lynch cited a litany of accomplishments that included winning raises totaling 56 percent between 1999 and 2010, opening up the union—literally unlocking the front door—to its members, and ramping up public-relations and lobbying efforts.