New York Daily News

August 18, 2004

Cops, firemen swarm Mayor Mike's pad

BY JONATHAN LEMIRE and LEO STANDORA
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS

A small army of cops and firefighters seeking higher pay gave Mayor Bloomberg a bon voyage protest outside his upper East Side townhouse early this morning.

Several hundred of the Finest and Bravest massed on E. 79th St. at 1:15 a.m. to chant, rant and wave placards calling for a new contract - just when the mayor was presumably resting up before his trip to the Athens Olympics today.

A contingent made up largely of firefighters chanted "Strike, strike, strike!" as they marched across the street from the mayor's residence.

Squads of cops in blue T-shirts proclaiming "Police Officers for Fair Pay" marched in pairs along the block between Fifth and Madison Aves. with glowing candles and American flags.

Later, the protesters grouped a half block away on Fifth Ave. to hear Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch say, "While the mayor's sleeping, we're out patrolling the streets. While our billionaire mayor flies to Greece, we'll be out doing our jobs. They may fight us, but we're gonna get the contract we deserve."

If the mayor was home, he wasn't letting on. A first-floor light glowed, but there was no sign of movement inside even when firefighters chanted "Bloom-berg, Bloom-berg" singsong style.

Dozens of on-duty cops watched the proceedings, but never had to intervene. The protest broke up about 2 a.m. Cops and firefighters have been hounding Bloomberg for weeks over the contract dispute. They have also leveled thinly veiled threats of job actions during the Republican convention, which begins Aug. 30 at Madison Square Garden. Cops have been working without a contract since July 31, 2002, and firefighters since May 31, 2002.

Bloomberg has insisted the protests won't change his view that the city is facing tough times and can't meet the wage demands.