New York Daily News

January 6, 2004

Police pay plea plays on 42nd St.

By GREG GITTRICH DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

The city's largest police union has put its money gripes in lights above Times Square.

Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch unveiled a massive billboard yesterday in a push to shame the city into increasing cops' pay.

"NYC Cops. Ranked #1 in the nation in fighting crime. Ranked #145 in the nation in salary. It's time to fix the injustice," the ad reads.

An electronic scroll below the billboard demands in giant red letters: "NYC cops deserve better pay."

The 2,000-square-foot ad is mounted on a wall of the Westin New York hotel, on W. 42nd St. just east of Eighth Ave.

The billboard will stay up for a month - at a cost of $75,000 - as the union fights for a "decent, livable wage," Lynch said.

"New York City's cops don't even earn the average of the nation's 200 largest police departments, and that has to be fixed," Lynch said.

Police have been without a contract since August 2002, and New York's Finest have grown increasingly bitter.

NYPD rookies have a starting salary of $36,878 - $3,143 below the national average, according to data compiled by Policepay.net and released yesterday by the PBA.

The base salary for city cops climbs to $57,793 after six years.

City cops' starting salary ranks 145 among the nation's 200 largest cities - just ahead of Independence, Mo., population 113,000, the PBA said.

Mayor Bloomberg has asked all the city's unions to make concessions because of budget woes. Bloomberg's spokesman, Ed Skyler, said: "We are not going to discuss our contract negotiations with the PBA publicly, through the press or billboards."