New York Post
May 19, 2006

NYPD RAI$E RAGE

Union Says 6% Offer is Not Enough

By STEPHANIE GASKELL

Cops' starting salaries would jump from $25,000 to $36,123 under an offer made yesterday by Mayor Bloomberg, a proposal that the city said will improve NYPD recruiting efforts — but that the union blasted as woeful.

Contract

"Once again, the city expects police officers to pay for their own raises while failing to close the gap at all levels of salary between New York City police and surrounding communities — from entry level to critical top pay," said Patrolmen's Benevolent Society President Pat Lynch.

The Bloomberg administration offered cops a 6.24 percent raise over two years.

But in exchange, new cops would get 10 fewer vacation days and six fewer paid holidays.

The union's last contract — which has already expired — was for 10 percent over two years.

The new offer "fails to consider the dangers that we face above and beyond virtually any other municipal employee despite the Taylor Law's requirement to consider job risks in setting wages," Lynch said. "Furthermore, it does nothing to address the critical recruitment and retention problem caused by dramatically higher police salaries in other departments.

"Prospective recruits won't be fooled and veteran cops won't be satisfied."

But city officials urged the union to accept the offer.

"With the PBA basically making up horror stories about cops being forced to go on food stamps, they'd be hard-pressed to explain why they would pass up a $10,000 raise for starting officers," said an administration official.

After starting salaries were lowered, The Post reported that several recruits applied for food stamps.

"The city was never in favor of having lower salaries, but there had to be productivity to fund the raises," the official said.

"This is a solution that raises the salary of new police officer recruits, and also gives current police officers a raise consistent with what other uniformed services have had."

Both sides said they would go back to the bargaining table — but sources said an outside arbitrator would most likely be brought in.

It was an outside arbitrator who helped negotiate the union's last contract, which reduced starting pay.

Union officials signed off on the deal — but blamed Bloomberg for it.

They said the new wages would significantly hurt the department's recruitment effort, something that Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly agreed with.

"We are asking new police officers to defend a city they can barely afford to inhabit," Kelly said.

"This is the most pressing issue facing the city. It's not just bad for the Police Department, it's bad public policy, and it's ultimately bad for every New Yorker."

stephanie.gaskell@nypost.com