The New York Times

August 15, 2002


Police Union Posts Outside Jobs

Rally for Pay Raises Is Set Today

By JACOB H. FRIES

Ts the city's largest police union prepared for a rally today in Times Square to call for larger salary increases, it posted law enforcement job openings from across the nation on its Web site, highlighting the differences between officers' salaries in New York and those in places like Seattle and Champaign, Ill.

The link to the job openings, an image of a brown leather suitcase with the word "Employment" on it, began appearing Monday night on the Web site of the union, the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association (www.nycpba.org), and was first reported yesterday in The Daily News. The starting wages for the positions listed were generally higher than the $31,305 that New York City officers earn: $46,146 in Seattle; $46,463 in Irvine, Calif.; $37,079 in Jackson, Wyo.; $39,686 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Albert W. O'Leary, a union spokesman, said the decision to post the openings in other cities came after several officers asked the union to help them find more lucrative employment. "It's an issue of very low morale among the police officers in the N.Y.P.D.," he said.

Mr. O'Leary acknowledged that adding employment information to the Web site was timed deliberately, with a decision looming on the city's contract with the police union and the union's plans to rally today. "There's a tremendous amount of disappointment about the rumors we're hearing" about the new contract, he said.

The rally, scheduled for noon to 2 p.m. at 42nd Street and Broadway, is expected to draw thousands, including police officers, firefighters, union officials, celebrities and relatives of officers killed at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11.

Mr. O'Leary said some officers who wanted to attend would be unable to because the department would not give them the day off. But Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said only officers working the 4 p.m.-to-midnight shift who asked for the day at the last minute would be refused. Officials said the decision was made so that enough officers would be available to patrol the city.

Responding to reporters' questions about the rally, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said he empathized with the officers, but stressed that the city's budget was tight. "They're frustrated," he said. "They would like more. I'd like to pay them more. We have a $5 billion deficit and as you know, I've asked every department to cut their budget by another 7.5 percent."