New York Daily News

Call it food (stamp) fight on cop pay


February 16, 2006—At least one police recruit has asked for food stamps because of the NYPD's paltry starting pay - prompting Mayor Bloomberg yesterday to blast the police union again for signing off on the $25,100 annual salary.

No recruits have apparently received food stamps, and it was unclear if any could qualify. Bloomberg spokesman Jordan Barowitz said it was "virtually impossible" for any recruit to meet the guidelines for the stamps.

During their six months in the Police Academy, recruits earn about $370.17 after taxes each week. The salary, the lowest in two decades, was created by the latest contract between Patrolmen's Benevolent Association and City Hall.

But with a jump in pay after six months, holiday pay, a uniform allowance and overtime, the average first-year salary rises to $35,889, Barowitz said. "To qualify for food stamps at that income level, you need to have five children and a spouse [who] does not work," he said.

Earlier, Bloomberg said the pay was created "at the request of the PBA." "They wanted to move monies from those who hadn't joined the department to those who have been there a long time," he said. "[I] did not think it was good policy. "

A PBA spokesman said the city offered two bad options, and the union supported the better one.

An NYPD official, who asked not to be identified, said one recruit has asked about getting food stamps. But sources close to recruits said as many as a dozen had applied.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the academy has lost 6% of its class so far, compared with 4% of the previous class, which earned more money.

"I've expressed my concerns about the starting salary - I'm not happy with that," he said.