New York Post
May 26, 2006

Ray Bares NYPD Recruiting Blue$

By FRANKIE EDOZIEN

Starting salary chartMay 26, 2006—The number of applicants to the NYPD has plummeted since the starting salary for new cops was slashed as part of the latest labor deal, Commissioner Ray Kelly said yesterday.

"I don't think you can drop a salary 40 percent and not expect it to have an impact on applications. It's just unrealistic," Kelly testified to a City Council committee.

Kelly revealed that applications have slid 25 percent this year.

"Today, as we go forward and we hire any new recruit, that recruit is being hired at $25,100, which is the same starting salary that it was 20 years ago," Kelly said.

He testified before the council on the NYPD's 2007 budget. Public Safety Committee Chairman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Queens) asked Kelly whether he will meet a target of hiring 800 news cops. Kelly replied he was hopeful.

The application downturn took place after a protracted contract fight between the Bloomberg administration and the police union last year. Both failed to come to an agreement and opted for binding arbitration.

The arbitrators at the Public Employment Relations Board decided that the new contract would include an $11,000 cut in rookie-cop salaries.

After six months in the academy, the salary goes up to $32,700, making their first-year salary actually about $28,000.

Mayor Bloomberg has repeatedly blamed the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association for the drop in rookie salaries - and just last week, the mayor's aides made public an offer to hike the pay for new cops.

Under the latest proposal, cops' starting salaries would jump from $25,100 to $36,123.

But the PBA rebuffed the offer because the raise would have meant 10 fewer vacation days and six fewer sick days.

"Surrounding police departments pay their officers $90,000 a year. Until New York City matches that, the NYPD will have a serious recruiting and retention problem. The commissioner knows it, and the mayor knows it.

"Now they have to find the political courage to fix it," said PBA head Patrick Lynch.

frankie.edozien@nypost.com