New York Daily News

December 18, 2004

Mike warns of cop layoffs

BY FRANK LOMBARDI
DAILY NEWS CITY HALL BUREAU

Mayor Bloomberg chilled the yuletide spirit for the police union yesterday, warning that its contract arbitration case could lead to fewer cops - perhaps through layoffs.

Bloomberg said the union's pursuit of binding arbitration could make it harder for the city to avoid layoffs to eliminate next year's budget gap of up to $2 billion.

"If the binding arbitration were to rule against the city, unfortunately then you would have to cut back because we don't have any money for next year," the mayor said on his weekly WABC-AM show.

Barring complications, the mayor contended, the budget gap could be eliminated "without any layoffs, just through attrition."

In a grinchy warning, he added, "If the arbitrator were to give them [the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association] more than the pattern, and there were no changes in work rules that would let us generate the money, we'd just have to do it with fewer police officers."

The mayor said that "hopefully" the reduction could be done through attrition, but he pointedly didn't rule out layoffs.

Patrick Lynch, PBA president, fired back: "The mayor is trying to use scare tactics to influence the arbitration panel.

"All we want is a fair hearing before that panel and fair compensation for police officers to fix both their salary problem and the city's recruitment and retention problem," he said.

Bloomberg and the PBA have feuded all year over the union's refusal to accept the wage pattern offered to all other municipal workers. It basically calls for a $1,000 lump-sum payment for the first year, a 3% raise the second year and a 1% hike the third.