New York Daily News

October 18, 2009 


Brawl for the Hall

Elizabeth Benjamin

Bloomberg set to sweep public safety
nods with PBA — source

The PBA has clashed with Mayor Bloomberg in the past and didn't support him in either 2001 or 2005.     
Florescu for News
The PBA has clashed with Mayor Bloomberg in the past and didn't support him in either 2001 or 2005.
 

Mayor Bloomberg is set to notch a police union sweep — winning nods from all five police unions with an endorsement today from the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association.

"This is a really unexpected, big endorsement for us," a Bloomberg source said.

"We've never had them before, and they're an important validator for the mayor's public safety record. To be able to get an endorsement this late in the game from a group with their name recognition and credibility with members is very helpful."

Still, the move isn't a complete surprise.

The PBA has clashed with Bloomberg over contracts and didn't support him in either 2001 or 2005.

But last summer, the union broke a string of three consecutive contract agreements decided in arbitration by reaching a four-year deal with the administration that included 4% annual wage hikes and a boost in officers' starting salaries. The PBA went on to support Bloomberg's successful push to extend term limits.

With the window to make endorsements closing, a few big players are still unspoken for.

Unless the groups that remain on the fence choose a side this week, their support will be largely symbolic. Endorsements too close to Election Day won't make an impact - unless they're from someone high-profile, like President Obama, or a group with a big get-out-the-vote operation.

Obama is due in town tomorrow to raise cash for the Democratic National Committee and Bill Owens, the Democratic candidate for the upstate seat of former Republican Rep. John McHugh. Supporters of Democratic mayoral nominee William Thompson are hoping Obama, who endorsed the controller through a spokesman, will at leastgive him a shoutout.

As for unions with significant clout, two are still unaccounted for: The United Federation of Teachers and SEIU 1199, which represents health care workers.

The UFT, which remained neutral in 2005 and is entering contract talks with the Bloomberg administration, recently postponed an endorsement resolution.

SEIU 1199 has been distracted by the state budget mess in Albany and a contract fight in New Jersey. It will likely refocus on the mayor's race this week, sources said.

Two big-name elected Dems have also yet to endorse: City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) and state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.

ebenjamin@nydailynews.com