January 6, 2004

Cops Appeal for Raise In Times Square Pitch

Billboard touts officers, criticizes wage scale

By Sean Gardiner Staff Writer

Billboards in Times Square have been used to pitch everything from soda to perfume. Now, one is being used to push for a raise for the city's cops.

On New Year's Eve, an 80-by-25-foot billboard went up on 42nd Street just off Eighth Avenue stating: "NYC Cops Ranked #1 in the Nation in Fighting Crime ... Ranked #145 In the Nation in Salary."

The billboard, which will be on display for a month at a $75,000 cost to the union, also lists in descending order the 144 police departments nationwide that pay their officers more than the NYPD. The starting salary for a New York City patrol cop is $36,878 and just tops $54,000 after five years.

"This city sings our praises of how we do our job and how we keep this city under control when many said it could not be done," Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, the union representing the city's 21,000 rank-and-file police officers, said at a news conference yesterday to draw attention to the billboard.

"But nonetheless [the city] refuses to pay us a decent, livable wage," he said.

The NYPD has been working without a contract since July 31, 2002, according to Al O'Leary, PBA spokesman.

"We are not going to discuss our contract negotiations with the PBA publicly, through the press or billboards," said mayoral spokesman Ed Skyler.

The statistics the PBA relied on for the billboard were compiled by, a compensation consultant company for unions and police associations.

Ronald York, the company's founder, said the index takes into consideration the average of base pay, other types of compensation such as holiday pay or uniform allotment, contributions to pensions and insurance by the city, cost of living and the number of hours officers work. Overtime is not taken into consideration.