New York Daily News

Updated: January 21, 2016, 7:35 AM



EXCLUSIVE: Arbitrator gives NYPD cops 1% salary raise, gets paid $115G for 46 days needed to reach the decision


Front page of Jan. 21 paper. Click on the image to see a larger version.

No wonder he’s a one-percenter.

The arbitrator who raised the ire of city cops by suggesting a measly 1% raise for New York’s Finest took home a mammoth $115,000 paycheck for hashing out the deal.

Arbitrator Howard Edelman earned the sweetheart sum for the 46 days he spent on a 100-page decision that gave city cops two 1% raises over two years, records obtained via a Freedom of Information Law request show.

“Are you f---ing kidding me?” a flabbergasted officer said when told of the exorbitant amount the independent referee earned. “Oh, my God. What a f---ing joke! It’s a joke. It’s all cahoots, man.”

Edelman earned $2,500 a day, and even charged the city for a full day’s work in June when a hearing was canceled.

PBA honcho Patrick Lynch leads a protest in November after Howard Edelman suggested a 1% raise for cops.


The tab was split between the city’s Office of Labor Relations and the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association.

The union slammed Edelman’s decision, arguing that the arbitrator sold out cops in the high-profile case so he could get more mediation business from the city.

“Howard Edelman clearly did not legitimately earn his pay in this arbitration,” PBA President Patrick Lynch said in a statement. “While sitting in judgment of the police officers’ contract, he accepted future work from the city, a clear conflict of interest, and failed to inform the PBA.”

But Lynch and his members were the ones who voted to go to arbitration after negotiations with City Hall broke down in 2014.

Edelman’s binding resolution, ratified by a state Public Employment Relations Board panel, led to protests in November outside the arbitrator’s Upper East Side penthouse where about 1,000 union members rallied holding signs reading, “We don’t flip burgers, we chase burglars.”

Protesters said Edelman was treating police officers worse than city fast-food workers, who expect to see their salaries increase to $15 an hour by 2018.

Lynch, at the time, called Edelman’s recommendation a slap in the face.

“All we are asking for is to be treated and paid like the professionals we are,” he said.

The union, which also protested outside Gracie Mansion, labeled the veteran arbitrator “the poster boy for the wealthy one-percenters.”

Police union members express their displeasure for Edelman's contract ruling.

Edelman’s 1% solution was in step with what other city police unions, including the Sergeants Benevolent Association and the Captains Endowment Association received in their negotiations with the city, officials said.

The PBA and the city will have to go back to the bargaining table to discuss back-pay raises for 2012 through 2015 as well as future raises.

“Our door has always been — and continues to be — open to the PBA to negotiate a long-term contract,” said Mayor de Blasio’s spokeswoman Amy Spitalnick.

Edelman could not immediately be reached for comment.

Union members even used a coffin to express their frustration for Edelman's contract decision.

The arbiter’s per diem rate of $2,500 was public information prior to the deal, and PBA officials signed off on him as mediator. Officials close to the proceedings said the rate was common.

“It’s not out of this world, and not out of line with prior bills,” a source with knowledge of the situation said.

But anger was still strong among rank-and-file cops.

“Pay me $10,000,” one cop told The News. “I could come up with that.”

Others said the PBA shouldered at least some of the blame for the meager back-pay increase.

“That’s a lot of money, and it’s extremely unfair,” another officer said. “The union took a big gamble and lost, and I am still really upset about it.”

“I looked at my check a couple of days ago, and there was, like, 37 more dollars in it. That’s about 60 extra bucks a month,” the cop, who declined to give her name, said. “How am I going to feed my kids on that?” 

With John Annese, Graham Rayman