New York Daily News

January 25, 2007

Cop rookies' pay 'bizarre' - Kelly

Blames paltry salary for recruiting woes

BY KATE LUCADAMO and ALISON GENDAR DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS

Police commissioner Raymond Kelly called the NYPD's paltry salary for rookie cops "bizarre" yesterday - as the city's largest police union urged the department to increase the maximum pay for veteran officers.

Kelly told the City Council that "it's so bizarre to pay [cops] the entry-level salary of $25,100 . . . for the dangers that police officers have to experience."

Kelly has blamed the low starting pay for crippling the city's attempt to boost the ranks of the Police Department by 800 cops over the past year. Mayor Bloomberg also has conceded that the starting salary makes it harder for the city to attract qualified recruits.

Bloomberg, who faults the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association for the low starting pay, has argued that the total compensation for city cops - base salary, overtime and benefits - is still appealing.

But PBA President Patrick Lynch rejected that argument yesterday, saying city cops would stomach a low starting pay if their salaries rose to the same levels of surrounding departments.

About 1,769 cops have quit the NYPD in the past two years to take better-paying jobs in other departments, Lynch said.

"That's enough police officers to staff 12 complete precincts," Lynch said as he lobbied to increase the NYPD's maximum base pay, which is capped at $59,588.

City Hall has offered to boost the maximum base pay to roughly $63,000, but the PBA wants a larger increase.