New York Daily News


PBA prez takes aim at Bloomy

BY CELESTE KATZ DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

July 9, 2006—Ratcheting up the rhetoric in the cop contract battle, police union President Patrick Lynch yesterday questioned Mayor Bloomberg's willingness to make a deal.

"They created the problem, now they want to correct it but want the police officers themselves to pay for it," Lynch wrote in an open letter on the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association Web site. "It is all smoke and mirrors and the way this administration is attempting to mislead the public is fundamentally dishonest."

The letter came just a day after the Bloomberg administration said talks were stalled and asked that the state Public Employment Relations Board be brought in to cut a deal.

Starting pay for rookie cops has been a stumbling block in the talks.

Last year, an arbitration contract accepted by both the city and union cut the pay of the newest officers. This year, the administration is offering higher starting pay for rookies, but wants to reduce their vacation days.

"The Bloomberg administration would have you believe that their proposal to increase starting pay was a magnanimous gesture, but the truth is that their plan is akin to earning more money for working more days," Lynch wrote.

Lynch even got a little personal about the well-heeled Bloomberg.

"Everything costs more but the city refuses to understand the fiscal reality of the working people, like police officers, who simply can't afford to live in the same city as our billionaire mayor," he said.

But City Hall insisted yesterday that going to an arbitrator was its only choice.

"The city has made offers to the PBA which increase starting salaries by 50%, to $37,800, and give existing officers increased benefits and the same raises firefighters and other uniform services have negotiated," Bloomberg spokeswoman Jennifer Falk said. "But the PBA isn't interested in negotiating, so arbitration is the only realistic outcome."

ckatz@nydailynews.com