New York Daily News

May 19, 2008 

State panel awards 10 percent pay hike to NYPD officers

BY KIRSTEN DANIS and ALISON GENDAR
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS

The NYPD's starting salary jumps to nearly $36,000 in a two-year pact that gives rank-and-file police officers a 9.73% compounded raise, authorities said.

Rookie starting pay - which had been slashed to $25,100 in a 2005 contract that crippled recruitment - will rise about 40% to $35,881, authorities said.

"While we wish the starting pay was higher, this is a step in the right direction," said Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, who said he has been unable to fill Police Academy classes since the $40,000 starting pay was cut.

Under the new contract, top pay for veteran cops rises to $65,382, from $59,588. The union said many of the top earners will get a retro check of about $21,000.

Rookies hired at the basement starting pay of $25,100 also will see a retro check, authorities said.

The two-year award of 4.5% and 5% was greater than the 3% and 3.15% won by other uniformed unions, which police union leaders said was appropriate.

"Pay should be based upon the responsibilities employees have, the hazards and dangers they face ... and not antiquated pay relationships of a bygone era," said Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association.

City Hall officials countered the raise carried at least 2.8% worth of givebacks.

In exchange for the salary bump, new hires lose 10 of their 20 vacation days.

Cops will have to use vacation days to qualify at the police shooting range instead of being able to go on department time.

And the department will be able to change cops' schedules, with few restrictions, 20 days a year, up from 15.

The award was agreed to in a 2-to-1 vote by a three-member arbitration panel.

The panel's chairwoman, Susan Mackenzie, and the city's representative voted for the agreement. The union's rep voted against.

Mayor Bloomberg warned this month that if the arbitration panel gave the cops more than the city pattern of 3% and 3.15%, the 7% property tax cut planned for next year would be in jeopardy.

A Bloomberg spokesman said last night the "mayor remains committed to providing property tax relief," but would not elaborate.

The PBA raises will cost the city $50 million more than was budgeted. It could cost taxpayers another $135 million because firefighters, correction officers and sanitation workers can reopen their contracts to match the PBA raises.

The contract, which is retroactive, runs August, 2004 through July 2006.

agendar@nydailynews.com