New York Daily News

February 23, 2002

No New Cash Seen for Cops

Mike sticks to Rudy raise offer

Daily News City Hall Bureau Chief

hey may be heroes, but Mayor Bloomberg told city cops yesterday not to expect a penny more than the raises they were being offered before Sept. 11.

"The city does not have any extra money," said Bloomberg, making his first explicit comments on police contract negotiations since becoming mayor. "We all know that."

The city's last offer came in July from ex-Mayor Rudy Giuliani — a 10% raise over two years that roughly matched the raises given then to firefighters, sanitation workers, correction officers and police bosses.

Cops had been hoping for substantially more, but Bloomberg hinted that cops would be lucky to get anything in the current economic climate, referring to the infamous "zeroes for heroes" contract negotiated by Giuliani in his first term. That pact got its name from the 0% raises it offered from 1995 to 1997, followed by increases of 3%, 3% and 6% in the final three years.

"The police settled for no raises in the union-negotiated contracts during the Giuliani administration," Bloomberg said. "The city economy was growing then. Right now, the city economy is declining, not growing."

The mayor's remarks drew a swift response from Patrolmen's Benevolent Association president Patrick Lynch, who called them "demoralizing."

The Union's Side

"Mayor Bloomberg must realize that any offer that shortchanges New York City police officers is not, in the long run, a cost-effective policy," Lynch said in a statement.

Yesterday's dustup began when "Bill" from Long Island called the mayor's weekly radio show on WABC-AM to ask if his opinion on pay raises for cops had changed since Sept. 11. "Where do you think we stand now?" asked Bill.

The mayor responded by explaining that the PBA's contract would be decided by the Public Employees Relations Board and was out of his hands. The arbitration is binding, meaning Bloomberg will almost certainly have to abide by any agreement.

"We are going to have a tough time coming up with anything more if the arbitration panel rules more," Bloomberg said.

The union, without a contract since July 2000, is seeking a pay hike of 23% to put them in line with surrounding areas.