January 10, 2006

Reduced salary for new NYPD class


The city yesterday swore in its first crop of police recruits at the sharply reduced starting salary of $25,100 per year - amid a drop in NYPD applicants and official vows to renegotiate the pay reduction in future contract talks.

The drop in starting pay from the mid-$30,000 range came from a Patrolmen's Benevolent Association contract settled through binding arbitration. Both the union and the Bloomberg administration have expressed dissatisfaction and each has blamed the other for the result.

During a news conference after the ceremony for 1,121 cadets, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said the lower pay may be affecting recruitment - a concern that arose last year when the new contract was ratified.

According to the NYPD, 28,457 people filed for the police exam that was given in February 2005. But only 19,660 have filed for next month's test, officials said.

A week remains until the filing deadline, but Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne said, "We don't think there will be a significant change in the number over the course of a week."

"We have to make up this very significant [pay] inequity" in future negotiations, Kelly said as he stood alongside Mayor Michael Bloomberg after the event at Brooklyn College.

Asked if the city will pay recruits more in the future, Bloomberg said, "Well, it's part of a negotiation with a union. Unfortunately, the PBA chose binding arbitration" in the last round of bargaining.

PBA president Patrick Lynch, outside an arraignment in the Bronx of two men accused of killing police Officer Daniel Enchautegui last month, said the city forced the cut for rookies.

"We need to sit at a table," Lynch said. "Nassau County police officers start at $21,000, but their top pay is $90,000. They do not have a recruitment nor a retention problem."

The top pay without overtime in the city is about $60,000.