Newsday
May 20, 2008

NYPD officers get pay raise; starting salary increased

BY ROCCO PARASCANDOLA

Police officers got the award they were looking for when an arbitration panel yesterday awarded them a pay raise and hiked by more than $10,000 the starting salary that the NYPD felt had significantly hampered its recruitment efforts. Rookie cops who had been paid a starting salary of $25,100 will now earn $35,881, with the hike retroactive to January 2006. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly called the increase a "step in the right direction," but both he and Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch said they wished the starting salary was even higher. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, however, said "this award goes a long way in addressing our concerns with the current starting salary for police officers."

The decision, by the three-person Public Employment Relations Board, also gives officers a 4.5 percent and 5 percent raise for the contract covering August 2004 through January 2006 - and it increases top pay for veterans to from $59,588 to $65,382. Under the ruling by a state arbitration panel, police recruits will have to work an extra 10 days a year for the first five years, which offsets some of the cost to the city. The ruling comes just weeks after Bloomberg said the city cannot afford raises of over 3 percent. Yesterday, however, he said the deal made financial sense as well. "The award provides savings through internal givebacks to best preserve the city's financial position going forward," he said in a statement. The general increase in salaries works out to 9.73 percent, he said, but the net cost is just 7.41 percent when givebacks and productivity increases are counted, said the mayor. The PBA had turned down the city's offer of a raise of 3 percent and 3.15 percent for the two-year contract. Lynch said the board's decision proves the city cannot engage in pattern bargaining by trying to treat each union of city workers the same. But even with the raise, "we will still rank at the bottom of the pay scale when compared to other local departments." Nassau County's starting salary is $34,000, but as of last December, the starting salary for a Suffolk officer was $57,811. "Our members will still look across borders to see others working in law enforcement earning as much as $30,000 a year more for work in less challenging environments and with lower costs of living in communities not nearly as prosperous as New York," Lynch said.

This story was supplemented with wire reports.