New York Daily News

October 22, 2008 


Labor leaders backing Bloomberg on term-limits extension

Lisa Colangelo

    Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch (c.) declares his fundamental opposition to term limits on the steps of City Hall Monday.
 
Giancarli for News
 

Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch (center) declares his fundamental opposition to term limits on the steps of City Hall Monday.

One by one, union officials have lined up behind Mayor Bloomberg's move to have term limits extended, which would allow him to run for office again.

They testified at the City Council hearings, held press conferences on the steps of City Hall and e-mailed press releases stating their positions.

They urged City Council members to pass legislation being pushed by the mayor's office to allow elected city officials to run for another term.

Many of the labor leaders have enjoyed a good relationship with the Bloomberg administration, such as Harry Nespoli of the Uniformed Sanitationmen's Association and Norman Seabrook of the Correction Officers' Benevolent Association.

Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch had a contentious public relationship with Bloomberg until the most recent contract deal. This week, he weighed in to support the mayor's controversial plan.

Bloomberg even got the support of Sergeants Benevolent Association President Ed Mullins. Not too many years ago, that union blasted Bloomberg with billboards on Staten Island.

"We haven't been shy about disagreeing with Mayor Bloomberg in the past, but in this case, I agree with the mayor and Speaker Quinn that the uncertain times we are in require us to give voters the most possible options for leadership," Mullins said in a statement.

So what's the deal here? Or is there a deal?

Deputy Mayor Ed Skyler, who works with uniformed unions on behalf of the mayor, has been meeting with labor leaders.

That's only one part of the massive push Bloomberg aides and allies have been making to get this legislation through the City Council.

Some say city union leaders have no reason to buck the mayor on this issue.

"You don't bite the hand that feeds you or can feed you or can cut your food off," said longtime City Hall watcher Doug Muzzio of Baruch College.

Muzzio said Bloomberg — at least in this battle — has basically dropped the stance that he is nonpartisan and above politics.

"He is playing hardball," Muzzio said. "This is traditional politics."

Nespoli said his reason for supporting the legislation is pretty simple.

"There are no promises at all; this is just how I feel," Nespoli said.

"What we're going to be facing in the next year and a half is going to be devastating. I just feel comfortable with the people who are in there now."

lcolangelo@nydailynews.com