Contact: Albert O'Leary
PBA Communications Director
212-298-9190

or Joseph Mancini
212-298-9150

June 10, 2014
For Immediate Release


Go to PBA release archive

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WHY THE POST’S HEADLINE:
“SNEAKY $35M BID TO BOOST COP PENSIONS”
IS WRONG AND THEIR STORY MISLEADING


The Issue:  In 2009, then Gov. David Paterson, did not renew the Tier 2 pension law for police officers, forcing any newly hired NYC police officer into a previously unused Tier 3 which increased time of service to 22 years for a half pay pension and drastically reduced benefits for officers disabled in the line of duty.  NYC police officers hired since 2009 are the only police in New York State to have this severely reduced disability coverage.

The PBA has been publically lobbying to change the disability section of Tier 3 and has issued at least four press statements since April regarding this matter including a press release distributed to virtually the entire news media industry along with the publication of a letter to the Council Speaker this past Sunday.

PBA president Patrick J. Lynch said:

“Until 2009, there was a social contract that said to police officers that if you run towards danger to protect this city then this city will care for you and your family if you are killed or severely hurt taking that risk.  Tier 3 disability benefits breaks that pact and now some of our members face fiscal devastation if they are seriously injured on the job.  We have said it publically and we say it again as loudly as possible, this city must restore appropriate disability coverage to all NYC police officers and they must do it now.”

First, let us highlight the errors in the headline and then we’ll address the intentional misrepresentations:

“Sneaky” — the PBA has made four public statements since April regarding the need to change legislation; the police commissioner mentioned it in Council hearings; the Public Advocate has written to the Governor in support; many Council Members have written to the Speaker in support of the equalization.  The media’s lack of interest in the story doesn’t indicate any interest on the part of the union in keeping the issue a secret.

“$35M bid” — The actuarial note for the cost of this change is that it will cost that much in the first years of the change despite the fact that there is not a single Tier 3 disability case pending before the Police Pension board.  Police Officer Rosa Rodriguez, seriously injured in a Coney Island arson fire that killed her partner, who has publically stated that she wishes to return to work, may be the first should she not fully recover.  The cost in the first years will more likely be zero than $35 million.

“Boost Cop Pensions” — The legislation that the PBA seeks is only to restore to 2009 levels the same disability coverage afforded to every other police officer in the State of NY. The legislation does not seek to reduce the years of service to 20 years or change any other provisions except the disability benefit.  The PBA’s position is that the reduced disability benefits was an unexpected impact of increasing the years for service retirement to 22 years.  Even Gov. Paterson, who forced the change, has indicated that the Tier 2 disability benefit should be restored.

The Post’s story is misleading in that their graphic suggests that the legislation will “Restore all officers to 75% of final year’s salary” when only very few who are severely injured and cannot return to work get that benefit. 

The story also indicates that one third of police retirees have a disability pension.  While we don’t know how they arrived at the 33% number, records indicate that each year the number of police officers who retire with a disability pension is about 10%.

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