New York Daily News

June 25, 2014


 

Legislature gives police union win with bill to rein in discipline rules

The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association welcomed the bill, which makes disciplinary procedures involving police agencies subject to contract negotiations, while the state Conference of Mayors and the Association of Towns opposed the measure.

By Kenneth Lovett

JESSE WARD/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS    

Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch hailed the measure that would make disciplinary actions subject to negotiations.

ALBANY — In the end-of-session crush of last-minute actions, the Legislature quietly passed a bill that would make disciplinary procedures involving all police agencies, including the NYPD, subject to contract negotiations.

The measure, backed by law enforcement officer unions, was strongly opposed by the state Conference of Mayors and the Association of Towns, which filed letters of opposition with the Legislature.

In the NYPD, for example, by virtue of a 2006 ruling by the state’s highest court, the police commissioner has full discretion over disciplinary matters.

    
Lynch says the bill will boost police morale.  

Four similar bills passed in prior years, only to be vetoed by previous governors. The current bill overwhelmingly passed both houses during the final week of this legislative session, which ended last week.

Assembly bill sponsor Peter Abbate (D-Brooklyn) defended the legislation as a matter of fairness.

A spokesman for Gov. Cuomo said only that the governor will review the bill.

A spokesman for Mayor de Blasio, whose administration did not sent a letter of opposition, didn’t return emails and calls for comment.

E.J. McMahon of the Empire Center for New York State Policy highlighted the bill on his blog, branding it “a classic under-the-radar, end-of-session special — an election-year favor to a powerful interest group.”

McMahon said giving the unions the power to negotiate disciplinary procedures would be a “significant policy change that would undermine the managerial authority of elected officials and police commissioners in many New York localities.”

But city Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch said it would boost morale for cops.

“This law will allow us to work with the NYPD to ensure that our members are treated fairly and with respect,” Lynch said. “If it becomes law, it will be another step in rebuilding the morale of a dispirited police department.”

klovett@nydailynews.com