New York Daily News

June 27, 2016, 4:00 AM



Gov. Cuomo asked to intervene in police union fight with Mayor de Blasio over disability benefits


PBA President Patrick Lynch wants Gov. Cuomo to intervene in a union push to provide newer cops the same disability benefits as older ones.  (BYRON SMITH/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

ALBANY — In his ongoing war with Mayor de Blasio, the head of the city police union is seeking help from another of the mayor’s foes — Gov. Cuomo.

Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch sent a letter Friday to the governor asking that he intervene in a fight with de Blasio over a union push to provide newer cops the same disability benefits as older ones.

Lynch accused the mayor of playing politics with the issue.

“We need real leadership on this issue, not gamesmanship, which is why we are requesting you to use any powers and authority available to you to correct this grave inequity,” he wrote.

Currently, cops hired after July 2009 annually receive 50% of their final pay if they suffer career-ending injuries, compared to the 75% benefit more veteran officers get.

Cops in New York outside the city get the higher benefit. Cuomo last year called for all cops to be treated the same.

Late in the just-ended state legislative session, Lynch had been working on a possible deal with City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito to create a statewide minimum disability standard for cops.

Mark-Viverito said she could support the measure if the union agreed to contribute toward their pensions, something Lynch said he was open to discussing.

In his letter to Cuomo, Lynch accused the mayor and his team of having “inserted themselves into our discussions with the City Council through a series of bad-faith maneuvers to attach a purely political cost to this vital benefit. As a result of the mayor’s interference, our bill’s progress in the state Legislature was halted.”

Gov. Cuomo last year called for all cops to be treated the same.  (JAMES KEIVOM/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

De Blasio on June 6 announced deals with the unions representing correction officers, firefighters and sanitation workers to increase their disability pensions to 75% of their final pay, while imposing an employee contribution to defray the additional costs to the city.

De Blasio spokesman Austin Finan said Sunday that the city made a “fair and reasonable” offer to the police union that, unlike those with the other uniformed employees, was rejected.

“The PBA stands alone in refusing to negotiate solutions to difficult problems that meet mutual interests,” Finan said.

Lynch urged Cuomo to push the Legislature to address the issue quickly “for those who guard the state’s top terrorism targets against an ever-multiplying variety of threats.”

“We need your help to restore the disability benefit as soon as possible so that when New York City police officers are called into harm’s way, they are not left wondering whether they can afford to put their families at risk,” Lynch wrote.

Cuomo spokesman Richard Azzopardi said Sunday “there is no good reason why NYPD officers should be treated differently than police in the rest of the state. It’s a matter of fairness and we will continue to push for this wrong to be made right.”

A Cuomo official added that “it’s clear that the mayor is letting his vendetta get in the way of closing this inequality.”

Mayor de Blasio’s team said that they made a “fair and reasonable” offer to the police union.  (JAMES KEIVOM/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)